Council endorses ‘Build A Thriving NJ’ effort

City Council has endorsed a campaign that recommends the state invest $600 million in affordable housing across the state.The governing body approved a resolution (AR-97-17) at its April 24 regular meeting “in support of building a thriving New Jersey.”

Thriving NJ table.jpgThe “Build A Thriving New Jersey” effort urges the next leaders of New Jersey to invest $600 million “into homes we can afford, so that all of us can continue to call New Jersey home.” Over the past decade, state support for investments that provide affordable homes have been “diverted or abandoned,” including four programs that are funded 75 percent less than they were 10 years ago, according to the campaign.

“Buiild A Thriving NJ” analyzed the investment the state has made over the last 30 years and has recommended that elected officials deploy $600 annually to a “strategic set of programmatic investments,” such as $200 million in Emergency Assistance Programs and $125 million in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, funded through the realty transfer fee.

Build a Thriving NJ” is a campaign of  the Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey, a statewide association of more than 250 “nonprofit housing and community development corporations, individuals, professional organizations, and prominent New Jersey corporations that support the creation of housing choices and economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents.”

The effort has been endorsed by three gubernatorial candidates, dozens of organizations and a number of local officials, including the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

“Everyone around New Jersey has felt the impact of the 2008 recession, the foreclosure crisis and Superstorm Sandy, all of which took an enormous toll on our communities, from our infrastructure to our businesses to the neighborhoods where we work and live,” according to the resolution, which also cited statistics specific to the state:

  • New Jersey still ranks number one in standard foreclosures and number one in zombie foreclosures; and,
  • New Jersey is the fifth most expensive place to rent a two-bedroom apartment in America;
  • New Jersey has more millennials living at home than any other state;
  • Some 37 percent of households in the state cannot afford basic needs like housing, child care, health care, food or transportation, according to the most recent United Way ALICE report; and
  • The number of unsheltered homeless individuals rose by 48 percent last year;

The resolution will be shared with candidates for the Legislature and governor, as well as the housing community, and distributed to the governor, lieutenant governor, state Senate president, Assembly speaker, legislators representing the the 22nd District, Union County municipalities and the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.