The Connection Between Health and Housing
Steve Adubato talks to Staci Berger, President and CEO, Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, about the challenges of finding affordable housing in New Jersey, Governor Murphy’s decision to fund the Housing Trust Fund, and the connection between health and housing.
"We are honored to be joined by our good friend Staci Berger, who is President and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. Good see you Staci. Thanks for having me. As we put up your website, tell folks who you are and what you do and why it matters. Sure. We're the statewide association of non-profit community development organizations that work to make sure everyone has a safe, decent, affordable place to call home in our great communities around New Jersey. See, I could read that on the website. Now break that down. Give us a concrete example of who you would be helping and what they would be struggling with. Sure. So we support our member organizations, like the folks here in Newark, who are working in neighborhoods across the city. Ironbound Community Corporation. La Casa de Don Pedro. Habitat for Humanity chapters all around the state. We provide technical assistance, training, advocacy, and education and outreach on the path of our member organizations. So... Big picture? Sure. I'm sorry. Big picture? Sorry for interrupting. How unaffordable is housing in this state? So... And compare it to other states. Sure. So we rank sixth as the least most affordable place to rent an apartment in the country. The most expensive? The most expensive. So the least affordable, most expensive place to rent an... Yup. ...apartment here in the Garden State. Why? Why? All across the country. Well one, we don't have enough places that people can afford to call home. And second we really have a wage problem, where people are not earning enough to keep up with the housing costs. And unlike most of the other states in the country, we still suffer from the foreclosure crisis. So we're... many of my colleagues at other state associations around the country can say, they're... you know, they see the foreclosure crisis in their rearview mirror. We still have people who were formerly homeowners, who are now in the rental market, because they can't stay in their home. And then we have foreclosed properties that are sitting vacant and abandoned. So we are looking forward to some of the policies that the Murphy Administration has put into place, and adopted some legislation... Such as? Name one? Pardon? Name one of the things that the Murphy Administration is doing in this regard that you believe, and your colleagues believe, is being helpful. Well for starters they... this governor is the first governor in a decade to fully fund the state's Affordable Housing Trust Fund. So it's… Yeah, okay. What is the state's Affordable...? ...Housing Trust Fund? What is it? It is a pool of dedicated resources that every time..."