Monarch Housing http://monarchhousing.org Building Homes, Transforming Lives Since 1990 Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:29:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 http://cdn3.monarchhousing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-favicon.ico-150x150.png Monarch Housing http://monarchhousing.org 32 32 3439124 Gubernatorial Candidates Endorse Building a Thriving NJ in Union County http://monarchhousing.org/2017/04/26/gubernatorial-candidates-forum/ http://monarchhousing.org/2017/04/26/gubernatorial-candidates-forum/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:29:15 +0000 http://monarchhousing.org/?p=36206 On April 25, 2017, members of Union County’s faith-based community and non-profits hosted a forum for elected officials and gubernatorial candidates.

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Community Leaders Host Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on Housing Affordability

On April 25, 2017, members of Union County’s faith-based community and community development groups hosted a forum for elected officials, future leaders and gubernatorial candidates.

“The Union County Candidates and Community Leader’s Forum to Build a Thriving New Jersey” provided local residents the opportunity to hear from candidates running for governor and other offices about their plans to make New Jersey a more affordable place to live.

The forum was held at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Springfield and sponsored by:

“Our elected officials and leaders are responsible for building a better NJ,” said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. “Voters from all walks of life care deeply about putting our economy back on track and making sure we can all afford to call New Jersey home. Our leaders need to address our housing crisis, including the foreclosure crisis and the high cost of renting an apartment. To that end, we are asking all of them to endorse our platform to ‘Build a Thriving NJ.’”

Participating in the forum were New Jersey Democratic Gubernatorial candidates:

All gubernatorial candidates were invited to attend or send a representative.

Gubernatorial candidates Kaper-Dale, Lesniak, and Wisniewski each endorsed the Build a Thriving NJ platform during the event.

Also, announcing his endorsement but unable to participate in Tuesday’s event was Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee Chair Jerry Green (D-22).

“Build a Thriving New Jersey” calls on the next leaders of the state to invest $600 million annually into homes residents can afford. The Network launched the “Build a Thriving NJ” campaign to boost the state’s economy through a plan that creates affordable home opportunities and jobs for NJ residents.

Community Leaders Host Candidates Forum on Housing Affordability

(L to R) Susan Pepper, Gateway YMCA, Geleen Donovan, Family Promise of Union County, Deacon Tim Williams, UCICC, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, Staci Berger, CEO of the Network, Debbie-Ann Anderson, HomeFirst, Linda Flores-Tober, Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, Richard W. Brown and District 20 Senate Democratic candidate Joseph Cryan.

Previously, the State had invested in ten community development programs but over the last decade cut much of the funding which has been diverted or abandoned. Several of the programs that housing advocates say will help “Build a Thriving NJ” include supporting:

  • the Affordable Housing Trust Fund,
  • the State Rental Assistance Program,
  • the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program (NRTC),
  • Lead Poisoning Prevention and Weatherization, and
  • Homeless Service Programs.

“We appeal to all lawmakers and community planners to create neighborhoods and housing plans that are inclusive of all socioeconomic groups,” said Geleen Donovan, executive director, Family Promise Union County. “This presents a vital plan that includes essential housing-related funds that were diverted to other state budget categories in the past.”

Tuesday’s forum followed a March housing summit for local residents to learn more about “Build a Thriving NJ” and raise personal concerns with the status of home affordability in the state. Housing advocates and community leaders say that the future is in the hands of the next governor and legislative leaders.

“At a time when the federal government is reneging on its responsibility to ensure that all have a home they can afford, an essential to life itself, ‘Build A Thriving NJ’ is an opportunity for the state to step up by making investments that create affordable home opportunities for all New Jersey residents,” said Linda M. Flores-Tober, executive director, Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless.

“New Jersey is at its best when our communities are strong,” said Debbie-Ann Anderson, executive director, HomeFirst. “We take pride in our diversity and look after our families, friends and neighbors. We want everyone who calls NJ home to be able to afford to live here because that’s how we are going to strengthen our economy and in turn, our communities.”

“This event provided an excellent opportunity for Union County residents to make the case that a state investment is needed to ensure that all NJ residents can afford a place to call home,” said Richard Brown, chief executive officer of Monarch Housing Associates.

“The Union County Interfaith Coordinating Council continues to help us build momentum for the ‘Build a Thriving New Jersey’ effort after a successful event in March and Homeless Sabbath in December. Because funding is critical at both the state and federal levels, Monarch Housing advocates and their partners will be in Washington, D.C. in July for a congressional reception to fight the cuts.”

Thriving NJ Campaign

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Tell Your Lawmakers: New Jersey Needs Strong Local News and Information http://monarchhousing.org/2017/04/26/new-jersey-needs-local-news/ http://monarchhousing.org/2017/04/26/new-jersey-needs-local-news/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:34:11 +0000 http://monarchhousing.org/?p=36197 New Jersey is set to receive $332 million from selling off the broadcast licenses of two of its old public-media stations. Join us in signing the petition.

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NJ Will Receive $332M from Selling off the Broadcast Licenses – Let Our Legislators Know we Need this for Local News

New Jersey is set to receive $332 million from selling off the broadcast licenses of two of its old public-media stations.

Please support efforts to make local news and media in NJ stronger.

The Free Press Action Fund is organizing these efforts.

There are two ways to support this effort:

The strength of our democracy, in part, here in New Jersey depends on it.

With the majority of New Jersey’s communities currently receiving little to no new coverage, these public-media funds should be used to fix the state’s local news crisis.

The NJ state legislature must take action by funding the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, a project that will unite journalists and higher education institutions with residents to fund projects to create a system of locally-produced news.

Please tell lawmakers that you want strong local news and information and the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium.

Now is the time for New Jerseyans to lift up their voice.

Our legislators must act now. The public media stations were originally created to serve our information needs, so it is only right the funding be used to revive and amplify local voices.

The Free Press Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization fighting for your rights to connect and communicate. The Free Press Action Fund does not support or oppose any candidate for public office.

Free Press works across the country to create a world where people have the information and opportunities they need to tell their own stories, hold leaders accountable, and participate in our democracy.

It fights to save the free and open internet, curb runaway media consolidation, protect press freedom, and ensure diverse voices are represented in our media.

Free Press believes that change happens when people have a real voice in the political process.

Sign the Free Press Petition

New Jersey Civic Information Consortium

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Fulfilling the Vision of Fair Housing Month http://monarchhousing.org/2017/04/25/fulfilling-vision-fair-housing-month/ http://monarchhousing.org/2017/04/25/fulfilling-vision-fair-housing-month/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:05:29 +0000 http://monarchhousing.org/?p=36189 April is Fair Housing Month and HUD must actively and affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) — as the Fair Housing Act requires — is vital to success.

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April is Fair Housing Month and HUD Should Continue Commitment to Implement Final AFFH Rule

April is Fair Housing Month. And this year is the 49th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act.

In an April 20, 2017 “Access: The TAC Blog” post, Lisa Sloane, Senior Policy Advisor at the Technical Assistance Collaborative, writes about “Fulfilling the Vision of Fair Housing Month.”

Writes Sloane about the anniversary of Fair Housing:

“Yet people with disabilities were not covered by this transformative legislation until twenty years later. In passing the 1988 amendments, Congress at last embraced a national commitment to end the unnecessary exclusion of people with disabilities from the American mainstream.”

But still that commitment remains unfilled. Writes Sloane:

“In its 2017 report on national discrimination trends, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), a consortium of more than 220 nonprofit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from across the United States, reports that ‘As has been the trend over the past several years, housing discrimination against persons with disabilities continued to make up the majority (55.1 percent) of housing complaints investigated in 2015 across the board, with a total of 15,332 instances reported.’”

Individuals with disabilities who are discriminated against are put at risk of homelessness.

In New Jersey, a significant portion of individuals experiencing homelessness also had a disability. The 2016 NJCounts Point-in-Time Count of the homeless found that 46% of homeless persons in New Jersey reported having some type of disability.

Among homeless adults over the age of 18, 57.5% reported a disability. The most prevalent disability reported was mental health issues.

“This year’s theme is Fair Housing Equals Opportunity, highlighting equality in housing as a foundation upon which aspirations can be achieved and affirming the Fair Housing Act’s ongoing role in confronting housing discrimination,” states the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in its press release regarding the month. Dr. Ben Carson has recently taken over the reigns as the HUD Secretary.

The Technical Assistance Collaborative welcomes “HUD’s continued commitment to fair housing and encourage the Secretary to maintain the agency’s robust support for these critical activities’”

  • “Enforcement – HUD must continue to prosecute housing discrimination against people with disabilities actively — whether that discrimination takes the form of new construction that is not physically accessible or a property’s policies and procedures that exclude people with invisible disabilities such as mental illness, brain injury, or HIV/AIDS.”
  • “Training – Whether helping an architect who must sort out multiple state and federal requirements or a property manager who needs to master the subtleties of reasonable accommodation, HUD can play a supportive role, both directly and by funding community organizations that provide technical assistance.”
  • “Collaboration – HUD’s continued collaboration internally (e.g. HUD Fair Housing staff working with staff from Public and Indian Housing or Community Planning and Development), across federal agencies (e.g. HUD issuing joint statements with the Department of Justice), and with outside parties (e.g. Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities meeting regularly with HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing) is vital to ensuring fair housing for people with disabilities.”

Sloane concludes “Fair housing enforcement, training, and collaboration can help to create equal opportunity. However, actively and affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) — as the Fair Housing Act requires — is vital to success. We urge HUD to commit to continued implementation of the AFFH final rule, including training and technical assistance activities. Disability issues are not yet adequately addressed in HUD’s technical assistance model but with commitment, we know HUD will get there. Let’s make next year’s 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act a real celebration.”

TAC’s Fair Housing Blog Post

HUD’s Press Release

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National Call-in Day to Protect Affordable Housing Investments http://monarchhousing.org/2017/04/25/national-call-in-day/ http://monarchhousing.org/2017/04/25/national-call-in-day/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:15:23 +0000 http://monarchhousing.org/?p=36183 National call-in day is April 26. Call Congress and ask them to pass FY17 spending bills before the April 28 deadline to protect affordable housing.

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Join the National Call-in Day and Tell Your Members of Congress to Preserve Housing Investments and Pass Final Spending Bills for FY17

The National Call-in Day is on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, and this is the time to tell your members of Congress to pass final spending bills for fiscal year FY17 before the April 28 deadline and to protect affordable housing investments.

To avoid a government shutdown, lawmakers must pass spending bills by Friday, April 28, 2017. Failure to pass full spending bills puts vital investments in affordable housing and community development at risk.

By participating in a national call-in day on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, you can urge Congress to pass a clean budget and protect critical investments.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding are holding the April 26 national call-in day. Tell your members of Congress to pass final spending bills for FY17 before the April 28 deadline and protect affordable housing investments.

When making your calls, please share any impacts you have on how the current budget uncertainty has hurt your community.

You can use this sample script when making your calls.

Please work with your colleagues to pass a final spending bill for fiscal year 2017 that protects affordable housing investments at the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.) These resources keep roofs over the heads of low-income families, seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable people.

These resources are a smart investment because affordable housing leads to better health and education outcomes and boosts economic mobility and the local economy. Our communities are stronger because of HUD funding. Please do not put these resources at risk by failing to pass full-year spending bills by the April 28 deadline.

NJ’s Congressional Delegation

Click here to see who represents you in Congress.

You can also take action and send your members and email by clicking here.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.

The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) is an education, strategy and action hub for national organizations dedicated to adequate federal housing and community development funding for lower income families and communities.

National Call-in Day

NJ Congressional Contacts

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It’s More Expensive to Be Poor in America http://monarchhousing.org/2017/04/24/poor-americans/ http://monarchhousing.org/2017/04/24/poor-americans/#respond Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:33:03 +0000 http://monarchhousing.org/?p=36176 It defies logic, right? That the poor would pay more for basic life items, essentially ensuring that they stay in the cycle of poverty forever.

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A New Infographic from the Films for Action website “Explains Why It’s More Expensive to Be Poor.”

Hazel Garcia writes, “It defies logic, right? That the poor would pay more for basic life items, essentially ensuring that they stay in the cycle of poverty forever. But people can forget that if you are living paycheck to paycheck, then it often becomes impossible to afford buying more than one thing at a time.”

Many of us can save money by buying the basics such as toilet paper in bulk. But if you do not have the money to buy an item like that in bulk, you end up spending more money in the long run buying it roll by roll.

And think about how your savings in purchasing bulk items could go towards saving for a house or paying for medical care?

It is also even hard to save money for first months rent and a deposit for a new apartment. Many low-income households stay in motels to avoid homelessness and the day by day or week by week motel expenses add up.

And if you can’t afford a reliable car or a monthly bus passes, transportation expenses also add up and can be prohibitive to getting to work.

It’s More Expensive to Be Poor in America
“Additionally, big up-front costs become more difficult, meaning you’re more likely to buy low-quality or used items. Look at it this way, if you can’t afford a reliable car, you are going more likely to buy a cheap, used car. A cheap car can end up costing more in the long-term due to more frequent breakdowns and higher maintenance costs. This applies to other large purchases such refrigerators, computers, washing machines, etc.”

Some advice that Garcia passes along about living paycheck to paycheck includes “calculating your monthly bills” and looking at how you can reduce them. But some very low-income people are already getting by with as little as they can.

Other items highlighted in the Infographic that cost more when you are paying for them little by little are healthier food choices and car insurance. Lower socioeconomic drivers pay, on average, $681 more.

Other financial clots of living paycheck to paycheck are the interest accumulated from pay day loans and credit card interest. Low-income households often get stuck with monthly checking account feeds and overdraft fees while middle- and high-income households carry enough of a balance month to month to avoid minimum balance fees.

It’s More Expensive to Be Poor

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Could Trump’s First 100 Days End in a Government Shutdown? http://monarchhousing.org/2017/04/24/government-shutdown/ http://monarchhousing.org/2017/04/24/government-shutdown/#respond Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:09:22 +0000 http://monarchhousing.org/?p=36170 On April 28, most federal government departments will run out of funding and a federal government shutdown will coincide with Trump's 100th day in office.

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Congress Should Avoid Government Shutdown With a Bipartisan Deal to Protect Federal Funding

On April 19, 2017, The Atlantic reported on “How Trump’s First 100 Days Could End in a Government Shutdown.”

Writes Russell Berman, “The historical marker on April 29 will coincide with the expiration of federal funding unless Congress can strike a bipartisan deal in time.”

If Congress does not work out a bipartisan deal around the pending expiration of federal funding, President Trump will spend his 100th day telling the public why his federal government will partially shut down.

On April 28, 2017, most federal government departments will run out of funding. While Congress was on a two-week recess, House and Senate staffers worked on and negotiated a spending bill designed to fund the last five months of the current fiscal year.

“Despite their minority status in Washington, Democrats are feeling bullish about the talks, and the 100-day marker is a big reason why. Still reeling from their failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republican leaders have little appetite for an all-out brawl that could result in a shutdown at a time when they are trying to prove to their constituents they can effectively run the country.”

It is believed that Trump will not end up with a spending bill that contains all of his administration’s priorities.

“Democrats have leverage in the negotiations because Republicans will need eight of their votes to clear a filibuster in the Senate and because conservatives in the House have been reluctant in recent years to vote for any bill that appropriates significant amounts of taxpayer money. Democrats are using that power to refuse to grant Trump any of the $1.4 billion he sought to begin development of his signature southern border wall, and Republican leaders have signaled they are content to delay a debate on the issue until Congress considers funding for 2018. Nor is the president likely to see the $18 billion in cuts to domestic programs the White House is seeking this fiscal year to help offset the boost in military spending that Trump wants even more.”

Keeping the government open should be a priority. A government shutdown would have a devastating effect on many government departments including the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.)

How Trump’s First 100 Days Could End in a Government Shutdown

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