Housing Advocates Urge Legislators to “Build a Thriving NJ”
Launch new initiative to expand community development in state


Housing advocates met with New Jersey Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (pictured center) on the Senate Floor to urge support for greater investment in affordable homes and communities.

On a mission to make New Jersey a better place to live, work, and play, housing advocates launched a new initiative to promote greater investment in housing and community development. Over 150 advocates met at the State House today as part of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey’s (the Network) annual Legislative Day, to encourage current and future lawmakers to Build a Thriving New Jersey.

“While other states have bounced back, NJ’s economy has languished after Sandy and the economic downturn,” said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Network. “We know that the next governor, and the next leaders of the legislature, will have important and difficult choices to make about how to make NJ a great place we can all afford to call home. That’s why, today, we are launching our campaign to Build a Thriving NJ, so that our current and future elected officials know that they have to do more to make NJ work for everyone.

The Build a Thriving New Jersey initiative aims to boost the state’s economy through investments that create more affordable homes, address homelessness prevention and services, revitalize neighborhoods, tackle foreclosures, and eliminate childhood lead poisoning by promoting safe homes and schools. Citing a recent national study which found New Jersey to be the fifth most expensive state to rent in the county, advocates met with legislators to urge action on proposals that make the investments outlined in Building a Thriving New Jersey. Advocates also called on New Jersey’s next governor commit to those investments.

“The backbone of our economy are our friends, families, and neighbors who live and work here,” said Blair Schleicher Bravo, chief executive officer of Morris Habitat for Humanity and Network Board Chair. “If people cannot afford to live here, they’re not going to spend on the activities that stimulate our economy. Investments that create more affordable homes, more jobs, and robust communities produce a high economic and social return.”

“Housing is the foundation of a healthy, happy life that allows people to be productive citizens,” said Felicia Alston-Singleton, Newark housing advocate. “I came to Trenton today to tell our legislators to support bills that create opportunities so that people having a hard time financially, due to systemic barriers, can have a home they can afford.” 

During Legislative Day, several Senate and Assembly members spoke to participants during issue-specific sessions about bills they have sponsored. In addition to speaking on her foreclosure mediation bill, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex/Morris) presented the Network with a resolution.

“Whether it is lack of housing options, the continuing foreclosure crisis or concerns specific to those who are economically disadvantaged or special needs residents, the Network is an invaluable resource in assisting those such as us who address these concerns in crafting policies and resolving difficult issues,” said Jasey. “Safe housing that people can afford is essential to all of our health, safety, quality of life and our sense of community. The Network stands on the front line and I am proud and privileged to stand with it.”  

About the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ
The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey is the statewide association of more than 250 community development corporations, individuals and other organizations that support the creation of affordable homes, economic opportunities, and strong communities. For more information on the Network, visit www.hcdnnj.org.

For more information:  Nina Arce
(609) 789-7900
Website:  hcdnnj.org
Twitter site:  twitter.com/hcdnnj
Facebook site:  facebook.com/hcdnnj