Over 150 Housing Advocates Go To Trenton, Urge Legislators and Gubernatorial Hopefuls to “Build a Thriving NJ”


Advocates from across New Jersey met with legislators to urge them to support investments that create affordable home opportunities for NJ residents.

As Congress considers deep cuts to the federal budget, housing advocates are turning to lawmakers in the State of New Jersey to help reduce the impact. Over 150 advocates from all over the state, 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 lawmakers and future leaders to Build a Thriving New Jersey.

“Other states have bounced back after the recession, but NJ’s economy and housing market continue to suffer,” said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Network. “We are number one in foreclosures and the sixth least affordable place to rent. Our residents need our current and future elected officials to make sure we can all afford to call NJ home. 115 state, local, and county officials, community organizations and religious leaders are calling for current legislators and gubernatorial candidates to commit to Build a Thriving NJ. We are at the State House to deliver that message in person.”

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 that found New Jersey residents making minimum wage need to work 129 hours per week to afford a two bedroom apartment, 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.

“We need a plan to get our economy back on track – a plan that creates jobs, boosts economic activity, and lifts every NJ resident,” said Matt Reilly, treasurer of the Network Board of Directors and president and chief executive officer of Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development, Inc. (MEND). “We are the sixth most expensive place to live in the nation and costs are rising. If people can’t afford to live here, we’ll never have a booming economy.”

According to the newly released 2017 Out of Reach report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a family must earn an hourly wage of $27.31 in order to afford a modest two bedroom apartment in NJ. That is far more than the average hourly wage of $17.86 or the $8.44 minimum wage.

Advocates thanked legislators who supported measures that help Build a Thriving NJ which were ultimately signed by Governor Christie including funding for lead poisoning prevention, foreclosure protection for Superstorm Sandy homeowners, and several homeless assistance bills.

“Our state needs elected officials to continue investing in the creation of affordable homes and revitalization of our communities. This support results in thousands of new jobs, stronger businesses and boosted economic activity, all across the state. As discussed today, together, we must build on these successes until all communities in NJ are strong and thriving.”

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) 393-3752 x1200
(609) 789-7900
Website: hcdnnj.org
Twitter site: twitter.com/hcdnnj
Facebook site: facebook.com/hcdnnj