Fair Housing Advocates Take Bus Tour of Jersey City & Bayonne

Department of Community Affairs commissioner Joe Doria and Urban League of Hudson County president Elnora Watson address the crowd before the bus tour begins.

Last week, about 30 housing advocates from across the state descended on the offices of the Urban League of Hudson County on Martin Luther King Drive to begin a three and a half hour bus ride through Jersey City and Bayonne, visiting eight different examples of affordable housing for moderate and low income residents. It was the second of three Housing Choices Showcase Bus Tours around the state.

The event was organized by the Hudson County Advocacy Team, a part of the Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey, and supported by network members and other local nonprofits, including Fairmount Housing Corporation, the Jersey City Episcopal Community Development Corporation, Catholic Charities, the Webb-Washington Community Development Corporation and the Urban League of Hudson County.

State Department of Community Affairs commissioner Joe Doria, Jersey City mayor Jerramiah Healy and housing scholar Alan Mallach of the National Housing Institute all were on hand to address the group. They noted that the quality of affordable housing being constructed and rehabbed in the area debunked the stereotype of low-quaility low income housing.

Among the sites the group visited, which included senior housing, supportive housing, affordable rentals and single-family homes targeted to first-time homebuyers, was the newly constructed Webb Apartments building in Jersey City. This development contains 40 units for low and moderate income renters and was built green — each unit will consume 20 percent less energy a year than buildings of comparable size.

“We are so proud to be working with our members, allies and elected and appointed officials on this informative tour, to showcase the homes that have been and can be created when everyone works together to provide decent and safe places for people to live,” Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey director of policy and advocacy Staci Berger said. “[The tour shows] how communities can have a variety of homes that people can afford, that blend into the fabric of a neighborhood and increase the quality of life for everyone. State and local officials can help by making sure the resources and local support are in place to build these homes, and help spur the economy.”

Jon Whiten

co-founded the Jersey City Independent. He is currently the Deputy Director of New Jersey Policy Perspective.