Network Hosts Second Annual Community Leadership Institute   
NJ cities work together to reinvigorate communities


The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network) will host a session for nearly 100 city officials and community leaders from 17 municipalities  across the state this week on Thursday, September 27 and Friday, September 28 at the Trenton Marriott Downtown. The Community Leadership Institute (CLI), in its second year, brings together experts and practitioners to explore strategies, policies, and systems to help acquire and repurpose problem properties and incorporate them into thriving communities.   
"We are offering a second year of the Institute because last year provided such a boost for cities and community developers in addressing these issues," said Diane Sterner, executive director of the Network. "With the state’s economy still ailing, and record rates of foreclosures continuing to burden these cities, we are continuing the CLI to help municipal officials and state leaders take action.  We are highlighting methods and resources that are available to empower municipalities, residents and community organizations to transform dilapidated areas into vibrant ones."
Attending the CLI will be municipal officials and community developers from: Elizabeth, Newark, Jersey City, Millville, East Orange, Irvington, Camden, Perth Amboy, Paterson, Asbury Park, Bridgeton, Plainfield, Trenton, Orange, New Brunswick, Roselle and Hillside. Over the span of two days, participants will take part in an agenda that includes strategies for getting private owners to fix up their properties, taking control and addressing neglected properties, creative funding options, and partnering with community members on neighborhood-specific strategies.
"Municipalities have a huge challenge not only improving our communities but simply maintaining them given the state of the economy," said Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, president of the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association. "We need to be creative and learn from experts and our peers who have found successful ways to address their revitalization and problem properties challenges. The CLI is a great forum to gain new tools to improve our neighborhoods and downtowns over the long term."
Efforts from the first CLI have resulted in the introduction of legislation that goes to the heart of the CLI's mission of transforming vacant and abandoned properties. Currently awaiting action in the NJ General Assembly is a bill that would expedite the mortgage foreclosure process for vacant properties and also one that would allow for the purchase of vacant foreclosed properties to convert into affordable ones. There is also a bill that would allow NJ towns to designate redevelopment entities and non-profits to act as a land bank on behalf of  municipalities. Land banks allow communities to acquire and maintain vacant and abandoned properties so they can be redeveloped or reprogrammed for long-term community benefit.
"As a local bank, we appreciate the vital role municipal leaders play in fostering economic opportunities for individuals and families in communities throughout New Jersey," said Ed Waterfield, New Jersey Market President, Capital One Bank. "As such, we're thrilled to support the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey's Community Leadership Institute for a second year. The solutions-based dialogue that takes place at the event provides local leaders with best practices to drive neighborhood revitalization efforts throughout our state."
Capital One Bank will be a lead sponsor for the two-day event as part of its long-standing commitment to investing in communities in which the Bank and its associates work and live.  
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 x11
[email protected]
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