Thriving Cities Take Collaboration

The Advisory Board of the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ (HCDNNJ).  Pictured from left-to-right:  Joseph DellaFave  of Ironbound Community Corporation,  Michael Johnson  of JP Morgan Chase & Co.,  Shoshanna Page  of the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy of Thomas Edison State University,  John Restrepo  of Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation,  Maria Maio-Messano  of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Affairs,  DeAnna Minus-Vincent  of RWJ Barnabas Health,  Staci Berger  of the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ, and  Wayne Meyer  of NJ Community Capital.

The Advisory Board of the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ (HCDNNJ).

Pictured from left-to-right: Joseph DellaFave of Ironbound Community Corporation, Michael Johnson of JP Morgan Chase & Co., Shoshanna Page of the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy of Thomas Edison State University, John Restrepo of Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation, Maria Maio-Messano of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Affairs, DeAnna Minus-Vincent of RWJ Barnabas Health, Staci Berger of the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ, and Wayne Meyer of NJ Community Capital.

“Always uplift, never uproot.” That maxim was greeted with applause by the people who gathered in Trenton Wednesday to mark the release of “Thriving Cities: A New Urban Agenda”, a roadmap for strengthening New Jersey’s urban communities. The speaker was Joe Della Fave of the Ironbound Community Corporation, one in a long string of participants who spoke of their commitment to revitalize New Jersey cities, and a member of the advisory committee to the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ (HCDNNJ, or “The Network”), which authored this annual report.

Thriving Cities New Urban Agenda Report_Page_01.jpg

The “Thriving Cities” annual report is rich in proposals for equitable investment in some of the state’s struggling neighborhoods. Staci Berger, President and CEO of “The Network”, summarized the policy recommendations that emerged from a year of meetings with stakeholders across the state. These range from protecting homeowners from foreclosure and ending homelessness, to making city living healthier and more affordable. The HCDNNJ organized a daunting list of policy to-dos into 13 primary areas of reform, and then plans to distribute these ideas far and wide, to policymakers and through its own network of more than 250 community development corporations, individuals and other supporting organizations.

It is of course about more than just housing. It is about safety, workforce development, financial resources, transportation, the environment and so much more of what the HCDNNJ calls the “interconnectedness of problems - and solutions”. “When all these disparate dots are connect,” the report concludes, “when all the steps laid out here are taken, the result will be so much more than a roof over everyone’s heads.”



Donna LiuComment