Advocates Head to Nation's Capitol to Press for Affordable Homes, Jobs


Faced with dramatic federal cuts to housing and community development, advocates from all over New Jersey travel to Washington, D.C. this week to preserve funding for low income households in the federal budget.

Part of the National Low Income Housing Coalition annual housing policy conference, New Jersey advocates will join nearly 500 service providers, advocates and low income tenants to the nation’s capitol to meet with their Members of Congress.  The New Jersey delegation will be meeting with Senators Menendez and Lautenberg, as well as Representatives Smith, Pallone, Andrews, Payne, Rothman, Sires and Holt.  

"Investing in creating homes and jobs helps our economy.  It also helps thousands of families, seniors, veterans, and special needs individuals flourish when they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to," said Arnold Cohen, policy coordinator for the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. "New Jerseyans have too few housing choices, and the proposed cuts are too draconian, for us to stay home.  We are making the trip down to Washington and we're looking forward to discussing these concerns with our U.S. Senators and Representatives."

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there are only 34 affordable and available rental units for every 100 extremely low income renters in New Jersey.  This deficit means that 66 out of 100 extremely low income renters face worst case housing needs, like unaffordable housing costs and substandard living conditions, such as inadequate plumbing and heating systems or overcrowding.

"The housing cuts that are being proposed will result in an increase of homelessness, reverse the positive gain veterans have realized in accessing supportive housing, and decrease rental assistance vouchers for those who do not have the financial means to secure housing," said Alison Recca-Ryan, New Jersey director for the Corporation for Supportive Housing.  "In the long run it costs more to ignore homelessness than it does to provide the funding necessary to provide safe and affordable homes. It's critical that we make an impact on budget decisions that will affect the lives of NJ's neediest and most vulnerable citizens."

"I currently have temporary rental assistance and I'm am extremely worried if this budget proposed by Congress becomes law," said Telissa Dowling, Jersey City resident and housing advocate.  "I could end up homeless because there are so many limited choices and this budget would not create any new home opportunities and that scares me."

Congress returns to Washington this week from a work period in their home districts. Lawmakers have two weeks to pass another continuing resolution to fund the government for FY11. At the same time, negotiations are under way on the FY12 budget. Housing advocates are working to stop cuts to public housing, tenant-based rental assistance, and community development programs, among others.

For more information:  

Nina Arce
(609) 393-3752 x12
(609) 789-7900
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