Financial, Public and Nonprofit Sector Leaders Discuss 50 Years of Fair Housing and its Future
Community leaders and municipal officials honored at NJ community development conference


On the heels of the 50th anniversary of the Federal Fair Housing Act, a panel of experts weighed the future of fair housing in New Jersey. The discussion was part of the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ’s (the Network) Annual Community Development Conference and Membership Meeting. Over 300 representing the financial and community development sector as well as state and federal officials participated in the event which also honored municipal officials and community development leaders.

“In the face of all of the challenges our sector and our communities face, this conference provides an opportunity for participants to learn, collaborate and push forward an agenda that empowers people and places,” said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Network. “Together we can move the needle to make every neighborhood across the state a community of opportunity for all residents.”

The Future of Fair Housing & Equitable Development: The Fair Housing Act at 50 and the What We Can Do Next featured a panel of experts representing the financial and nonprofit sector, as well as federal officials. Panelists included Maria Maio-Messano Field Office Director of the New Jersey State Office, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development; Michael Campion, Assistant U.S. Attorney & Chief of the Civil Rights Unit, U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey; Dr. Tyree Oredein Safe Schools Coordinator, Garden State Equality; and Michael G. Johnson Vice-President and Community Development Program Officer, Global Philanthropy JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Representing the event premier sponsor JP Morgan Chase, Johnson said, “The idea around our investment is really about believing in people and believing that everyone should have inclusive access to opportunities. We are very much tied to the work of equitable development; the idea of housing alone is not enough to address the ills of what’s happening in society. We have focused on creating collaborations amongst the different nonprofits who focus on affordable homes and link to public officials and advocacy groups that talk about policy.”

The Network also honored two elected officials at the event for their exceptional support and leadership for community development, Senator Troy Singleton (LD-7) and Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake (LD-34). Singleton was presented with the 2018 Community Development Champion award while Timberlake became the inaugural inductee into the Network’s “Hall of Heroes.”

“The American Dream is not one that has a zip code, it’s not one that has a demographic, it’s not one that is entitled to anyone but everyone,” said Singleton, the 2018 Community Development Champion honoree. “I play a small role in this great democracy of ours to move this forward. I thank everyone for the work that you do and keeping us honest in government, helping us recognize that our challenge and responsibility is to make sure that our state is inclusive for everyone.”

“I’m humbled and honored to be inducted into the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey’s Hall of Heroes,” said Timberlake. “I commend the Network’s efforts in revitalizing distressed communities throughout our state and I look forward to continuing to work with them throughout my administration to ensure we make affordable housing possible for everyone in need of it.”

The Network also presented Reverend Bruce Davidson, a member of the Network’s Board of Directors, with the inaugural Assemblyman Jerry Green Legacy Award. Other honorees included Morris Habitat for Humanity for Advocacy and Organizing, NJ Citizen Action as the Exceptional Community Partner, Shelterforce Magazine with the Exceptional Media Award, the City of Union City and Egg Harbor Township as Outstanding Municipal Partners for Redevelopment, Montclair and Woodbridge Townships as Outstanding Municipal Partners for New Development and Northern Ocean Habitat for the Healthy Homes and Communities award.

In addition to the fair housing discussion, conference attendees participated in a series of workshops on topics such as healthy homes and communities, neighborhood revitalization, creative placemaking, community schools, housing counseling and the National Housing Trust Fund. The Network’s 2018 Community Development Conference and Membership Meeting took place on October 12 at the Hyatt in New Brunswick.

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

For more information: Nina Rainiero
(609) 393-3752 x1200
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