Housing Is Infrastructure, NJ Community Leaders Tell Congressional Delegation

Housing Advocates Say Infrastructure Bill Passage Should Provide Key Housing Investments

TRENTON — More than 80 New Jersey-based organizations joined the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey to urge the New Jersey Congressional delegation to support the $3.5 trillion infrastructure and economic recovery package that would ensure that the lowest-income and most marginalized renters have an affordable place to call home.

Specifically, they were asked to make the following investments:

1. Expand rental assistance with $180 billion phased in over ten years.
2. Support at least $70 billion to repair and preserve public housing.
3. Support at least $45 billion in the national Housing Trust Fund.

“The $3.5 trillion Infrastructure Bill is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to advance proven solutions at the scale necessary to ensure that affordable and stable homes reach everyone in need,” said Staci Berger, President and chief executive officer of the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ.

The letter also calls on the NJ Congressional delegation to cosponsor House Financial Services Committee Chairperson Maxine Waters’ “Housing is Infrastructure Act” (H.R.4497) and “Ending Homelessness Act” (H.R. 4496) that would codify these housing investments. Rep. Albio Sires (NJ-8) and Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) were early co-sponsors on these bills.

Even before the pandemic, New Jersey was in the grips of a housing affordability crisis, most severely impacting the most marginalized and lowest-income people, including seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other individuals. In NJ, there is a shortage of more than 200,000 affordable homes available to renters with extremely low incomes. For every 10 of these households, there are 3.2 affordable and available homes. Without affordable options, over 71% of extremely low-income households in NJ pay at least half of their limited incomes on rent, leaving them without the resources they need to put food on the table, purchase needed medications, or make ends meet.

“A quality affordable home is a prescription for good health and has been linked to prevention of long-term health problems and promotes healthy, productive lives. We call on our Congressional leaders to make this important, comprehensive investment in our communities,” Berger said.

The full letter can be viewed here. More information about the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s HoUSed campaign, which is leading the national effort to ensure full investment in housing needs, is available here. The National Low Income Housing Coalition is the Network’s national partner.

About the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ

The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey is the statewide association of more than 270 community development corporations, individuals and other organizations that support the creation of affordable homes, economic opportunities, and strong communities. For more information on the Network, visit www.hcdnnj.org.

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