Hundreds from NJ head to DC to protect funds for housing
In a state with one of the highest costs of living, affordable housing is critical.
That's why on Wednesday, six buses with 350 advocates from New Jersey will be traveling to Washington, D.C., for a congressional reception carrying the messages "No Housing Cuts" and "Opportunity Starts at Home."
Buses will depart from 10 locations in New Jersey:
- St. John's Church, Newark
-Advance Housing, Teterboro
-Catholic Charities, Trenton
-Mental Health Association in Atlantic County, Galloway
-Lincoln Avenue School, Cranford
-Holy Trinity School, Westville
-Catholic Charities, Edison
-New Horizon's, Vineland
-Drew University, Madison
New Jersey has one of the highest housing costs in the nation, ranking the 6th most expensive state for renters. With 41 percent of people earning too little to afford all their family's basic necessities, housing cuts at the federal level would increase housing insecurity and homelessness, says Renee Koubiadis, executive director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, a partner organization in planning the congressional reception.
Kate Kelly, of Monarch Housing Associates, says constituents plan to urge elected officials to oppose devastating spending cuts to programs that give Jersey residents access to affordable homes.
Kelly says all of New Jersey is facing a severe affordable housing crisis.
"Homelessness, while it may be more visually apparent in some of the larger metro areas, is being experienced by individuals and families all across the state."
Kelly says some of the issues they will discuss include funding for federal housing choice vouchers and funding for homelessness assistance. She says they will be speaking at a personal level about how these programs have affected lives.
Also on the agenda is talks about how critical it is to protect Medicaid expansion, prevent cuts to housing benefits, to maintain investments and affordable housing, to increase funding for the National Trust Fund and strengthening the low income tax credit, according to Kelly.
After the day trip, she says there is hope that dialogues will continue with U.S. senators and representatives and their staff.
"Maybe they will connect with some of the constituents and the agencies that are in Washington and visit a site, tour some affordable housing, tour a program that's ending homelessness," says Kelly.