Passaic County Advocacy Team

Community Advocates Join Mayor, State and County Leaders to Share the Pain of Budget Cuts, Urge Investment in Paterson and Urban Areas


Community development leaders, and officials from all levels of government sounded the alarm during a panel discussion today about the devastating impact that budget cuts will have on Paterson, surrounding communities and the state as a whole.  They said the cuts to funding sources that provide employment and opportunities for low- and moderate-income families, seniors, and special needs individuals to have affordable homes will put residents and the economy at risk.  

"Everyone knows these are tough economic times, which is why we need a state budget that lifts hard-working New Jerseyans struggling daily to make ends meet," said Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D- Passaic/Bergen), who spoke as part of the panel.  "We do not need another budget that targets working class New Jersey families."

The panel discussion, moderated by Paterson Mayor Jeffrey Jones, was part of the Passaic County Advocacy Team’s Housing Opportunity Breakfast.  The event focused on the effects of budget cuts on Passaic County from a federal, state, county and local perspective.  In addition to Pou, chairwoman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, the panel included: Assad Akhter, deputy chief of staff to Congressman Bill Pascrell; Bruce James, Passaic County freeholder; and Lanisha Makle, acting community development director for the city of Paterson.  

"Forums like this with our elected officials are so important.” said Barbara Dunn, executive director of Paterson Habitat for Humanity and Passaic Advocacy Team member.  "When government cannot support basic human needs or invest in the upgrading of communities, we all suffer.  For Paterson Habitat, the loss of government grants means we'll build fewer homes -- and not add more tax payers to the city tax rolls."

The Housing Opportunity Breakfast originated as a means to build connections among and between the community economic development sector, elected leaders and public officials, the business community, affected individuals, service providers and others interested in increasing the quality of life for residents of Passaic County.  

"One of the best ways we can move forward in Paterson and areas like it is to create the home and jobs our residents need.  We need appropriate resources to do this, but the Governor’s FY2012 budget once again drains the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, leaving nothing for the development of homes people need,"said Staci Berger, director of policy and advocacy at the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ.  “Last year, a similar move by the governor took $25 million out of the Trust Fund to fill his budget. This resulted in the loss of $175 million in revenue and 1300 jobs. We simply cannot – and will not – let that happen again this year."
Members of the Advocacy Team, with support from the Network, including community organizations New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC), Paterson Habitat for Humanity, St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation, and the Housing Authority of the City of Paterson, organized the event.  They will also be touring the area on their third annual Community Showcase Bus Tour on June 3.  The breakfast was also sponsored by Millenium Strategies.  The discussion was taped at the local Cablevision studio and will be broadcast locally the near future.

To learn more about the Housing and Community Development Network and its Advocacy Teams, visit

For more information:
Nina Arce
(609) 393-3752 x12
(609) 789-7900
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