HUD Secretary Keynotes NJ Community Development Meeting
Addresses foreclosure crisis and rebuilding neighborhoods


Today, over 200 elected officials, members, and supporters of the Housing & Community Development Network of NJ gathered at the Trenton Marriott for the group’s semi-annual meeting.  The Honorable Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was on hand to deliver the keynote address. Sec. Donovan highlighted the work the Obama Administration is doing to partner with communities and families hurt by the foreclosure crisis and efforts under way to strengthen housing opportunities for all Americans.  U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) also addressed the group, via video message, about the housing issues being discussed in the Congress.

"We know that housing counseling is one of our best tools for stopping foreclosures – helping 8 million families over the last three years alone," said Secretary Donovan. "I’ve joined Attorneys General from both parties and across the country who have committed to using these funds for counseling and other tools that help homeowners, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to bring that message to the Network. We need to continue working together to encourage state and local leaders to do the right thing and use these funds to help struggling families."

In addition to his remarks, Secretary Donovan also took answered questions from the participants.  The full text of Secretary Donovan’s prepared remarks can be found online at  

"Our members are on the front lines every day, working in neighborhoods across the state to create the homes and jobs New Jerseyans – and all Americans – need to continue our economic recovery.  We have community developers, private sector investors and public officials here today, all necessary partners in creating more affordable homes and revitalizing our neighborhoods," said Diane Sterner, executive director of the Network.   “We’re honored to have Secretary Donovan with us to discuss ways that we can work together to overcome the challenges facing New Jersey’s communities and residents.  Like the Secretary and the President, we are dedicated to improving housing affordability and access so that we can move our state and nation forward."

The secretary's visit comes on the heels of reports that New Jersey's foreclosure rates are on an uptick, contradicting the more optimistic national trend. New Jersey housing advocates have been pushing for state policies that would address the vacant and abandoned foreclosed property problem while revitalizing neighborhoods by transforming these homes into vibrant, affordable ones. Advocates are looking to the Obama Administration's landmark $25 billion foreclosure settlement, as one of several ways to improve New Jersey's economic outlook. New Jersey is set to receive $800 million of the settlement, $75 million of which advocates say is at risk of being taken to fund budget items not relating to foreclosure prevention.  

The Network’s president, Raymond Ocasio, also commented on the need to address the foreclosure situation on both the prevention of families losing their homes and shoring up our neighborhoods from the blight of empty buildings that threaten our communities.  

"Preserving the existing housing stock is the most cost effective approach to retain affordable homes for working families and prevent the neighborhood from falling into despair," said Ocasio. "Only coordinated and appropriately funded efforts by local, state and federal governments can salvage our communities, our homes and families."

The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey is the statewide association of more than 250 housing and community development corporations, individuals and other organizations that support the creation of homes and economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Jerseyans.  For more information, visit the Network's website at

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