NJ Housing Leaders Urge Senate to Pass the People’s Bill on Virtual Legislative Day, Urge Action and Investments in NJ Communities
Announce “Drive to Survive” Car Caravan for Eviction Prevention Bill Next Week


Over 100 housing advocates held a Virtual Legislative Day, via Zoom due to COVID-19, to conduct dozens of meetings with members of the New Jersey Assembly and Senate on Tuesday. The meetings urged state action to prevent the widespread foreclosure and eviction crisis that is expected in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The event, organized by the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ (the Network), included the group’s agenda for housing investments to Build a Thriving New Jersey.

“The irresponsible lack of action by the US Senate puts tremendous pressure on our state elected officials to deliver meaningful relief for homeowners and renters,” said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Network. “Unfortunately, the NJ Senate has not yet acted on the ‘People’s Bill’, so many Garden State residents are still worried about their housing security. We are in a critical moment in American history and are looking to our leaders to stand up for racial justice and equity during this pandemic. It’s up to the members of our state legislature, and the Senate in particular, to make sure those hardest hit by COVID and systemic racism get the housing and health justice they deserve.”

"Where you live has everything to do with your health and well-being," said Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). “Our schools are the most segregated in the nation because of our housing patterns. Although we’re a diverse state, there’s an acute shortage of homes people can afford. In terms of reaching real equity, we have to make sure that everyone has access to an affordable, safe home.”

Advocates and legislative sponsors are have been working to pass legislation known as “The People’s Bill,” which would outline clear repayment standards for tenants who were forced to miss their rent due to the pandemic and would require mortgage forbearance options for homeowners who have struggled to stay afloat during and after the public health emergency. It also prevents negative credit reporting for missing rent or mortgage payments during the pandemic. The bill, which passed this summer in the Assembly, has stalled in the Senate despite a push from Governor Murphy during his budget address earlier this month.

Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake (Essex/Passaic), prime sponsor of the Assembly version of the “People’s Bill” said, “We have to get this bill done, it creates fairness and prevents a tsunami of homelessness from coming. There are already about 20,000 pre-evictions filed, just waiting for the governor's moratorium on evictions to expire. The ‘People's Bill’ is fair to the landlords, the banks, the renters and the homeowners. It makes sure everyone receives their money over time and that no one is displaced because of hardship that is outside of their control. We must make sure people are able to keep a roof over their heads."

“The health and well-being of our neighbors is on the line, and so we will be on the road when the Senate can act,” said Berger.

In addition to the “People’s Bill,” housing advocates spoke to legislators about preserving the proposed allocation for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund in Governor Murphy’s proposed FY2021 budget along with lead poisoning prevention, and the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program.

The Network and the Compassionate NJ Coalition will be holding a “Drive to Survive” car caravan on Thursday, September 24, to urge the Senate to vote on the “People’s Bill.” For more information on the event, visit www.facebook.com/compassionatenj.

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