Federal Relief Funds Should Prioritize Closing Racial Wealth Gap and Balancing NJ Housing Market, says Network
Statewide housing leader provides testimony to Murphy Administration


The Murphy Administration hosted a virtual hearing today on the use of American Rescue Plan funds provided by the federal government. The following are highlights of testimony offered by Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network) President and Chief Executive Officer Staci Berger:

“Homeownership is the single largest mechanism by which families create and maintain wealth. Yet, residents and communities of color suffer from an extremely pervasive and persistent racial wealth gap in NJ, which is intertwined with our housing affordability crisis. Like the pandemic, the housing crisis – for renters and homeowners - disproportionately impacts Black and Brown residents. Black, female heads of households are five times more likely to be evicted than white male counterparts. In NJ, 77 percent of white households own a home but less than half of Black households do.

“NJ’s shortage of affordable homes – for both renters and homeowners – is exacerbated by systemic and institutional racism and economic injustice that we continue to see around our nation. For less than one billion dollars, we can build back better and more equitably, so that our housing market is balanced, and everyone can afford to call NJ home.”

Berger called on the Murphy Administration to make investments that provide permanent solutions to the issues of housing instability facing NJ residents. Specifically, the Network is calling for the investment of $975 million from the ARP for the following:

  • $200 million for expanding the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to create more affordable homes.
  • $35 million to increase Project Based Rental Assistance, to create more permanently affordable rental homes.
  • $50 million to help end childhood lead poisoning.
  • $85 million for repurposing vacant and underutilized properties – like hotels and motels - and creating safe places for folks experiencing homelessness, with services. We can end homelessness for people currently experiencing it with rental subsidies, new homes and support services, at $175 million as recommended by Monarch Housing Associates, for a total of $260 million.
  • $50 million to create homeownership options for first generation homeowners.
  • $50 million for rehabilitating public housing, which has suffered so much physical neglect. This would serve as a down payment on what we hope will be further investment from the federal infrastructure plan.
  • $125 million to provide new resources for repairing, rehabbing and redeveloping homes, including homes for seniors who need help aging in place and doing other repairs and demolishing unsafe structures.
  • $100 million to secure supportive housing for folks with special needs, as recommended by the Supportive Housing Association of NJ.
  • $45 million to provide key services for pandemic-impacted communities and residents, including community health workers, violence prevention programs, and housing services and benefit navigators.

To read the testimony in full, visit: tinyurl.com/ARPfundstestimony.

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 Rainiero

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