By Kate M. Kelly
Housing Forum Takeaway: A Home is the Center of Life and Must be Part of New Jersey’s Story
On Thursday, October 12, 2017, a Public Policy Forum on eviction in NJ with Princeton sociologist Dr. Matthew Desmond, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Evicted, and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (NJ-D) was held at Drew University in Madison, NJ. The forum was held at The Concert Hall on Drew’s campus. Over 300 people attended the event and it received television and newspaper coverage.
On October 16, 2017, NorthJersey.com, the USA Today owned papers including the Record and the Daily Record published an editorial on the housing forum “Drew forum on housing raises valid concerns.”
“Public forums like the one at Drew engage both the general public and students – our future leaders – in thoughtful discussion about a statewide crisis that must be resolved. More is needed.”
Dr. Desmond said, “The house is the center of life. It’s part of the America story.”
“It must be part of the New Jersey story as well.”
“As Michael Izzo reports, in 2016, there were 3,054 evictions out of 44,651 rentals in Morris County, meaning 7 percent of Morris County tenants were evicted. That wasn’t even the highest eviction rate in New Jersey.” In fact, Essex County had the eviction rate of 25%.
In his remarks, Dr. Desmond told the audience “We have the richest society with the worst poverty.”
This divide between the rich and poor is a growing issue in New Jersey.
“New Jersey is an expensive place to live for the middle class, which struggles with staggering property tax bills. The battle is harder for low-income families living paycheck to paycheck with no cushion for even small emergencies, as Booker said. And the Trump administration is not focusing on the needs of the poor.”
“The tax code rewards wealth, and we’re told that will help the poor, and that’s just lies,” U.S. Senator Cory Booker told the audience.
“The opportunity to address the affordable crisis exists at both the state and federal level.”
Monarch Housing agrees with editorial’s conclusions.
“Clearly, the federal government must do more in providing housing vouchers that allow low-income families to pay 30 percent of their income toward a home with the federal government picking up the difference. But on the state and local levels, we also must do more to reduce the cost of rental units.”
Sponsoring the forum were Monarch Housing, NJ Policy Perspective, the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ, the Anti-Poverty Network of NJ, the Supportive Housing Association of NJ, Bridges Outreach, the Mental Health Association in NJ, the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, Homeless Solutions and the Drew University Center for Civic Engagement.
This article was originally published on October 19, 2017 at: https://monarchhousing.org/2017