Help Our Communities Prosper, Advocates Tell Legislators
Urge Governor, Legislators to Pass Budget that Creates More Affordable Homes


At separate Statehouse hearings today, housing advocates and New Jersey residents urged lawmakers to address the foreclosure crisis and create more affordable home opportunities across the state. Community leaders testified before the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee as well as the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee on legislation that would extend the deadline for municipalities to commit their housing trust funds in addition to a bill on land banking.

"There are several different proposals currently before the state legislature that together will help drive our economy forward,” said Staci Berger, director of Policy and Advocacy of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. "Governor Christie and every legislator should stand behind these proposals because they have the potential to help restore vitality in our neighborhoods and dignity to people who need homes they can afford. Our leaders cannot ignore the epidemic of foreclosure and vacant properties and expect to rebuild our statewide economy."

The Assembly and Senate hearings allowed local residents and nonprofit developers the opportunity to share with legislators how New Jersey communities are directly affected foreclosures and what land banks and trust fund dollars can do to empower municipalities to deal with those properties that have become a blight on the community.

"Through land banks, communities can acquire and maintain vacant and abandoned properties in a systematic fashion, and dispose of them in ways that ensure they are redeveloped or reused for long-term community benefit," said Diane Sterner, executive director of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. "They can help towns and cities assemble and restore problem properties and put them back on the tax rolls, revitalizing neighborhoods and improving the quality of life for residents and taxpayers."   

Another proposal introduced in both legislative chambers, the New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act, has a similar objective in terms of transforming vacant and abandoned foreclosed properties into affordable homes. That bill was not heard in either committee today but the bill's co-sponsor Senator Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union) was optimistic of its passage as part of the package of bills to address foreclosure and affordable home creation.

The committee hearings were part of the Housing and Community Development Network's annual lobby day which brings housing advocates together in Trenton to emphasize the need to create more affordable homes and jobs across the state. Acknowledging the negative impact Governor Christie's state budget could have on these proposals, advocates strongly encouraged legislators reject any budget that usurps housing funds rather than addressing the foreclosure crisis.

To learn more about the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, visit

For more information: Nina Arce
Housing & Community Development Network of NJ
(609) 393-3752 x12
[email protected]
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