Over 400 Healthcare, Financial, and Community Development Leaders Converge at Statewide Conference
NJ association honors community leaders and state, municipal officials


The relationship between health and community development took center stage at a conference for New Jersey community developers this week. Under One Roof 2017: Empowering People and Places, the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey’s (the Network) annual event, brought together over 400 individuals representing the community development, healthcare, and financial sectors for a two day event at the Hyatt in New Brunswick.

“Having an affordable place to call home makes people healthier, and being healthier improves the quality of life for residents around our state. Strengthening the partnership between the health sector and community developers is critical for New Jersey’s well-being,” said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Network. “This year’s Under One Roof conference put the spotlight on housing as a social determinant of health, and ways the community developers and health practitioners can work together to achieve better health outcomes for all of our residents in the future.”

The first day of the conference focused on healthy homes and communities, with more than 200 people in attendance for the dedicated discussion. The second day, attended by over 300 people, featured in an array of workshops about industry topics including homelessness prevention, housing counseling foreclosure, and funding for housing creation. The day included a panel discussion about how New Jersey’s housing and community development sector can ensure increased investment in proven programs to help create the homes the Garden State needs. At its conference last year, the Network launched an effort to secure support from candidates and elected officials to “Build A Thriving NJ,” by putting $600 million back into housing and community revitalization work. More than 100 public officials and candidates have committed to the effort.
“The next elected leaders of our state have to step up and make investments that will allow our state to thrive,” said Blair Schleicher Bravo, chief executive officer of Morris Habitat for Humanity and Network Board Chair. “We cannot depend on the federal government to lift NJ’s economy. There are things we can do right here at home to create jobs and affordable homes and ultimately a prosperous economy.”

At the event, the Network also honored municipal officials and community development leaders for their commitment and achievements in New Jersey’s community development sector. Award winners included NJ Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Charles A. Richman as the 2017 Community Development Champion, NJ Policy Perspective as the Exceptional Community Partner, the City of East Orange and the City of Gloucester City as Outstanding Municipal Partners for Redevelopment, the Town of Morristown and Borough of Morris Plains as Outstanding Municipal Partners for New Development and the Believe in a Healthy Newark, Healthy Homes Impact Team as Outstanding Municipal Partner for Healthy Homes and Communities. Community based organizations, Urban League of Essex County and the Fairmount Heights Neighborhood Association were presented with the Advocacy and Organizing Award.

“For twenty years, we have promoted policy change to advance economic justice and prosperity for all New Jersey residents,” said Gorden MacInnes, president, NJ Policy Perspective. “We share this vision with the Network and so we are honored to be presented with the Exceptional Community Partner Award.”

Other special guests included Megan Sandel, MD, MPH, associate director, GROW clinic at Boston Medical Center as keynote speaker; Bob Atkins, director, NJ Health Initiatives-Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Michellene Davis, executive vice president, chief corporate affairs officer, RWJ Barnabas Health; Rose Farias, director of urban policy, NJ Senate Majority Office; and Lucy Vandenberg, senior program officer, Fund for New Jersey.

To learn more about Under One Roof 2017, visit https://underoneroof.topi.com/.

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
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(609) 789-7900
Website: hcdnnj.org
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