Lt. Gov. Oliver, Community Leaders and Municipal Officials Honored for Contributions to Community Development During Pandemic
Over 300 participate in statewide housing and community development association virtual conference


Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver was presented with the “Community Development Champion” award last week for her role as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Over 300 community development leaders watched online as the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ (the Network) honored Oliver as well as several community trailblazers and municipal officials from the Cities of Trenton, Newark, Perth Amboy and Borough of Penns Grove, during its annual community development conference and membership meeting.

“During this unprecedented time, our top priority is making sure that everyone understands the urgent need for everyone to have a safe, affordable place to call home. The pandemic has demonstrated that housing is health,” said Network President and Chief Executive Officer Staci Berger. “The group of individuals and organizations we are honoring this year have gone above and beyond to make a positive impact on New Jerseyans in the midst of this pandemic, and to ensure that our communities have the resources and tools they need to recover. They are invaluable partners and allies to our network and the communities we serve.”

Under the direction of Lt. Gov. Oliver, DCA took action in the early days of the pandemic to prevent housing instability and protect thousands of renters and homeowners on the brink of homelessness. DCA worked hard to respond quickly to the needs of New Jerseyans, with assistance provided through the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, COVID-19 Short-Term Rental Assistance Program, the Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program, all while maintaining and increasing the ongoing programs services they provide. The Department has also supported the work of numerous Network members through the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

"The governor and I are working to keep people safe and to help NJ recover equitably and fairly from the ongoing pandemic,” said Lt. Gov. Oliver. “We are working to remove the systemic barriers that prevent everyone from reaching their full potential. We know that a safe and affordable home is one of the essential building blocks to making sure that NJ works for everyone and to keep families and neighborhoods healthy which is so critical during this pandemic”
In addition to the Community Development Champion Award, the Network also honored the NJ Institute for Social Justice as the Exceptional Community Partner as well as the Environmental Justice Collaborative for Advocacy and Organizing. The Outstanding Municipal Partner Award for Healthy Homes was presented to the City of Newark and the City of Perth Amboy. The Borough of Penns Grove and City of Trenton was presented with the Outstanding Municipal Partner Award for Redevelopment and New Development, respectively.

Under One Roof also featured two keynote addresses about achieving racial equity and housing justice delivered by Professor of Urban Policy and Health at The New School Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Vice President for Housing Policy Peggy Bailey.

"In any community, you'll see people doing something good whether it's collecting food for neighbors or even somebody taking care of somebody like older lady next door,” said Dr. Fullilove. “There's good everywhere. All of those pieces are of a just and sustainable future, they're part of where we need to go."

"We as health care stakeholders, as housing stakeholders, as warriors of racial justice need to take this moment and make it into a movement,” said Bailey “We need to ensure investments are made that reverse centuries of injustice and instability for people of the lowest outcomes. We can build toward a future where no one will have to worry about having a place to live.
The virtual event was sponsored by JP Morgan Chase, M&T Bank, Valley National Bank, Santander, TD Bank, and Truist Bank amongst others. Featured sessions included topics on healthy homes, tenant rights, women in development, art, neighborhood revitalization, racial equity, getting out the vote, federal public policy, neighborhood empowerment and safety, housing counseling, and pandemic relief resources.

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