Community Development Conference Addresses Housing Issues Facing NJ Including Sandy Recovery, COAH, Foreclosure
25th anniversary launch features awards for HUD’s Diane Johnson, Shelterforce


The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network) launched its 25th anniversary yearlong celebration at a conference for community developers, housing advocates and service providers today. The Network's Annual Conference and Membership brought together over 175 involved in the community development field to discuss the last 25 years and what the future has in store for New Jersey's communities.       

“The major challenges facing New Jersey today – from ensuring that we create homes people can afford, to revitalizing our cities and building great communities that everyone can access – are the same ones that brought our members together in 1989.  We have made great progress, but we have much more work to do,” said Staci Berger, Network executive director.  “New Jersey has three of the wealthiest counties in our nation, and yet, over a million people in the Garden State can’t find a home they can afford.  Our members are working every day to rebuild after Sandy, to create the homes people need and to help our economy rebound and our residents thrive.”

The Network was launched in 1989 as the Affordable Housing Network of New Jersey with 34 members. Today, the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey has grown into a statewide association of more than 250 housing and community development corporations, individuals and other organizations that support the creation of affordable homes and economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Jersey residents.

The Network honored two award recipients who have made significant contributions to the community development sector in New Jersey. Diane Johnson, Newark field office director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was awarded the inaugural 2013 Community Development Champion Award. In the coming weeks, Johnson will be retiring from HUD after 40 years of service. The Network honored Shelterforce, the journal of housing and community building, published by the National Housing Institute, for the 2013 Excellence in Media Award winner for its in-depth look at the future of community development last fall.

During her acceptance speech, Johnson told the crowd, "I have memories of all of the homes where someone was offered a key because of you. Because of your dedication and commitment, we have stabilized neighborhoods in this state and because of you, I know that we will continue to fight and fight and fight until we win."
Conference attendees participated in workshops about the future of the Council on Affordable Housing rules, Sandy recovery efforts, foreclosure and problem property tools, and tax credit financing opportunities for new developments.

Deborah Boatright, northeast regional director of NeighborWorks® America led a plenary panel discussion among experts that explored the future of the field. Panelists included: Ray Ocasio, executive director, La Casa de Don Pedro; Maria Maio, executive director, Jersey City Housing Authority;  Rick Sauer, executive director, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations; Annemarie Uebbing, Director, HUD Community Planning and Development Division,
Deb DeSantis, president and CEO, Corporation for Supportive Housing; and Etta Rudolph Denk, market development manager, Bank of America.  

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