Gov. Murphy Receives “Community Development Champion” Honor from Nonprofit Leaders and Housing Advocates
Association reports $2 billion economic impact by NJ nonprofit developers in last five years


Governor Phil Murphy received the “Community Development Champion” award today for becoming the first governor to fully fund the New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund in a decade. The award was presented by members of NJ’s nonprofit community development sector at Under One Roof: The Housing and Community Development Network of NJ’s (the Network) Annual Community Development Conference and Membership Meeting.

“I am honored to accept this award recognizing our administration’s work to create a stronger and fairer New Jersey that includes access to affordable housing,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Zip codes should not determine outcomes. Expanding affordable housing fosters more inclusive communities, can strengthen and diversify our schools, and provides for opportunities to live near good jobs, transit, and sources of enrichment.”

The governor accepted the honor before a room of over 300 community development practitioners, housing advocates, private sector partners and public officials. In addition to making a full investment in the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Network selected Murphy as 2019 Community Development Champion for supporting policies aimed to create stronger, more affordable communities. Key pieces of legislation signed into law in 2019 include: land banking, Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit program expansion, foreclosure prevention measures, expansion of emergency assistance, and the creation of the Office of Homelessness Prevention.

Also at the event, the Network unveiled “Thriving Together,” its report on the economic impact of NJ’s nonprofit community development sector over the last five years. This is an update to an earlier report showing a $12 billion impact from 1989-2014. According to the new report, the community development sector generated $2 million for the state’s economy by creating affordable homes, jobs, and businesses as well as putting vacant and abandoned properties back on local tax rolls.

“Despite the raid on the Affordable Housing Trust Fund under the previous Administration, the nonprofit community development sector has been a strong contributor to the state’s economy,” said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Network. “Our members have been making investments, despite limited resources, which improve the quality of our neighborhoods, producing the homes and jobs NJ needs to thrive. Now that the Trust Fund is being used as intended, we can make NJ a place we can all afford to call home.”

Under One Roof also featured a keynote delivered by National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) President and Chief Executive Officer Diane Yentel on housing policy in the 2020 Presidential Election. In a public opinion poll commissioned by NLIHC’s Opportunity Starts at Home multisector affordable homes campaign, 85 percent of respondents believe that access to a safe, decent, affordable place to live should be a national priority. The NLIHC has focused their efforts on making the issue a priority for presidential candidates.

“Congratulations to Governor Phil Murphy, the NJ Redevelopment Authority, and the Network. I was honored to be a keynote speaker at this year's Community Development and Membership Meeting where I joined dedicated leaders and strong affordable housing advocates," said Yentel. “The NJ Affordable Housing Trust Fund is a fundamental resource that targets the preservation and production of affordable housing for communities with the lowest incomes and greatest needs. This resource was underfunded for far too long and I look forward to working with the Network to ensure that it maintains its full funding. I'm excited by the work the Network is doing to make NJ a more affordable place to live and to raise awareness around mobilizing voter and presidential candidates on the issue of affordable and accessible housing for low-income renters.”

In addition to the Community Development Champion Award, the Network also honored the NJ Redevelopment Authority under the direction of Leslie A. Anderson as the Exceptional Community Partner as well as Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation and Elizabeth Coalition to End Homelessness for Advocacy and Organizing. The Outstanding Municipal Partner Award for Healthy Homes was presented to the City of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative while the Borough of Highland Park was presented with the Outstanding Municipal Partner Award for Redevelopment.

The event which took place at the Hyatt in New Brunswick, was sponsored by JP Morgan Chase, M&T Bank, Valley National Bank, Santander, TD Bank, and BB&T Bank among others. Under One Roof caps off a yearlong celebration of the Network’s 30th anniversary.

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
(609) 789-7900
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