Under One Roof, an annual New Brunswick conference, provided an opportunity for state officials, advocates and more to laud some major achievements in the community development space, as well as discuss the work that still needs to be done.
The Housing and Community Development Network of NJ’s Staci Berger acknowledged Gov. Murphy for his efforts in this arena, including fully funding the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and his passage of nine laws aimed at minimizing the state’s foreclosure crisis and helping neighborhoods address vacant and blighted properties.
Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora has been able to use the laws to create land banks to repurpose vacant properties much faster in his community.
“With the land banking, you create this one-stop institution that could take charge of whole neighborhoods or individual housing,” said Gusciora. “And then dispose of it or renovate it, and the land bank then makes all of those decisions. So, it really makes the conversion of abandoned property into productive property a lot quicker.”
Collaboration was one of themes repeatedly mentioned by several of the conference’s panelists, and special guest speaker Gov. Murphy, who said housing is not a policy area with only “one solution or one problem.” He said it will require many departments working together to create solutions.