• Ensuring Resilient Communities: Being Ready to Respond to the Next Disaster
    Two years after Hurricane Ida swept through New Jersey, there are still communities dealing with recovery. New Jersey is no stranger to natural disasters, so how are we preparing for the next storm? Learn about the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and the recovery process from the perspective of local municipal leadership, disaster-related community development, residential, and more. We’ll also dive into how we can make NJ communities more resilient in the face of climate-related disasters, and better respond to them in the future.

    Panelists: Katie Brennan, Culture of Health Leader, Robert Wood Johnson FoundationDean Dafis, Mayor, Township of Maplewood; Amanda Devecka-Rinear, Executive Director, NJ Organizing Project; Anthony Smith, Executive Director, Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District

    Moderator: Dan Antonellis, President, Region Nine Housing Corporation

  • Providing Eviction Prevention: New Jersey’s Eviction Protection Programs Are Working!
    Housing counseling agencies (HCAs) are well positioned to help NJ renters facing eviction. With their knowledge of personal financial analysis and relationships with clients, HCAs can help clients prepare a financial snapshot for landlord-tenant court, but what happens when they get there? Learn about the State of New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Comprehensive Eviction Defense and Diversion (CEDD) program which will help low-income households at risk of eviction access legal services and experienced caseworkers, known as resource navigators, for a wrap-around defense against housing displacement. Find out how tenants will be able to access financial support from the CEDD program to cover expenses related to eviction-related emergencies, including help with past due rent, relocation expenses, and legal services.

    Panelists: Carol Sainthilaire, Executive Director, The Waterfront Project; Nina DePalma, Staff Attorney, Volunteer Lawyers for JusticeTina McGill, Program Manager, Office of Homelessness Prevention (OHP), Division of Housing and Community Resources, NJ Department of Community Affairs

    Moderator: Susanne Byrne, Executive Director, York Street Project

  • Establishing a Land Bank: Implementing NJ’s Innovative Law in Your Community
    A decade of Network advocacy resulted in NJ’s groundbreaking land bank law, creating a powerful tool that towns can use to acquire and re-purpose vacant and abandoned properties. Establishing one in your community could be an important step to revitalize your neighborhood. Hear from leading state and national experts on land bank successes, challenges, and what is required to get one started in your community. Plus, access free technical assistance from the Center for Community Progress.

    Panelists: Tarik Abdelazim, Director of National Technical Assistance, Center for Community Progress; Martha Baez, Senior Vice President, Invest Newark

    Moderator: Barbara George Johnson, Vice President of External Affairs and Urban Policy and Research, Kean University

  • Building Strong Neighborhoods: Learn About Public Investments Available to Support Your Development Projects
    From new development to rehabilitation, learn about how to secure funding for your project. Through the American Rescue Act and other federal funding, New Jersey has received significant investment for community development. At the same time, the State of New Jersey has substantial funding opportunities through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program, and the HOME Program. The level of funding currently available is unprecedented, so find out how your organization can take advantage!

    Panelists: Lorissa Luciani, Deputy Administrator of Housing Production, NJ Department of Community Affairs; Janel Winter, Assistant Commissioner and Director of the Division Housing and Community Resources, NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; Susan Catlett, NRTC Program Manager, NJ Department of Community Affairs; Xin “Leo” Li, Program Specialist, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs

    Moderator:  Bridget Phifer, Executive Director, Parkside Business & Community in Partnership; Chair, HCDNNJ Board of Directors

  • Creating Generational Wealth: Expanding Opportunities for First Generation Homeowners
    Homeownership is the main mechanism through which generational wealth is secured, but access to affordable homeownership continues to reflect segregation and redlining. According to the NJ Institute for Social Justice's 2022 report Black Homeownership Matters, only 38.4% of Black NJ households own their homes compared with 75.9% of white NJ households. Efforts are underway to reverse this trend and break down the underlying systemic racism and institutional barriers that have prevented lower income and Black and Latinx households from the opportunity to build future wealth.

    Panelists: Julio Colon, Director of Real Estate Development and Management, Urban League of Essex County; Jordan Moskowitz, Managing Director of Single Family Programs, NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency; Lenny Robbins, Senior Program Officer for Lending, Greater Newark LISC; Laura Sullivan, Director of Economic Justice, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

    Moderator: Ed Bethea, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Gateway Community Action Partnership


  • Strengthening Code Red/Code Blue: Protecting our most vulnerable citizens from extreme weather conditions
    There are significant disparities in which NJ communities respond to extreme weather emergencies, leaving our most vulnerable residents in a precarious situation. After hard-fought advocacy, a code blue law has finally been enacted to establish a consistent response and services for individuals in need of a safe place to seek shelter during dangerously cold weather. Learn about how providers are serving communities during these extreme weather events and how advocates are raising the red flag on the Network's HouseNJ Code Red legislative priority.

    Panelists: Taiisa Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, Monarch Housing Associates; Richard Uniacke, President, Bridges Outreach, Inc.;
    Renaee Smith, Director of Development, Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless; Mary Gay Abbott-Young, President, The Rescue Mission of Trenton

    Moderator: John P. Keller, Director of Education and Outreach, coLAB Arts

  • Improving Disaster Recovery: Support for Disaster Impacted Residents
    Housing counseling agencies (HCAs) are well positioned to help homeowners and renters after a disaster. With their knowledge of local resources and programs and relationships with clients, HCAs can help clients manage their post-disaster financial situation and navigate the complexities of disaster recovery assistance programs. Learn how Housing Counselors can help clients navigate the disaster recovery process, access recovery resources, keep their finances in order, develop preparedness plans, repair their homes, and/or avoid foreclosure or eviction.

    Panelists: Kim Goycochea, HUD-Certified Housing Counselor and Paralegal, The Waterfront Project; Louis Prezeau, Director of Housing Counseling & Community Investments, HCDNNJ

    Moderator: Helen Steblecki, CRA Officer, OceanFirst Bank; HCDNNJ Board Member Emeritus

  • Protecting Tenants: Organizing for Rent Control and Tenant Rights
    As renters across NJ grapple with skyrocketing rent increases that threaten displacement, NJ lags behind other states in providing state-level action to stop drastic rent increases for existing tenants. There is no statewide standard on rent increases, and while towns do have the power to take local action on rent control, most do not. Amid carve outs for new construction, residents continually find themselves facing rent hikes that are unfair and unconscionable. NJ law prevents “unconscionable” rent increases but offers no metrics to define the term. Find out what towns are doing to establish rent caps and how to get involved in rent control advocacy at the state and local levels.

    Panelists: Olga Armas, Organizer, Make the Road NJ; Celmira Cordero, Tenant Organizer, New Brunswick Tomorrow;
    The Hon. Britnee N. Timberlake, NJ Assembly, LD34
    Nada Hussein, ERASE Project Coordinator, National Low Income Housing Coalition

    Moderator: Jaymie Santiago, President, New Brunswick Tomorrow

  • Measuring Equitable Inclusion: New Tools for Evaluating Impact
    Are you questioning if your community investments promote economic inclusion? Are you seeking guidance on accurately defining and measuring economic inclusion? The John S. Watson Institute has collaborated with BCT Partners, a Newark-based management consulting firm, to help you find answers. Together, we have developed the Equitable Impact (EquIP) application, a web-based tool that enables you to make informed programmatic decisions and evaluate their impact. We invite you to join us and discover how EquIP can be a valuable asset in shaping an economically inclusive community.

    Panelists: Abigail Alfred, Precision Solutions Manager, BCT Partners; Alex Rivera, Director, Center for Economic and Workforce Development, Social Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, John S. Watson Institute for Urban Policy and Research, Kean University; Judith Thompson-Morris, Deputy Director, Greater Newark LISC

    ModeratorMark Valli, CEO, Norwescap
  • Community Development Investment Advisory Board (CDIAB): Affinity Group (Workshop by Invitation)
    The Community Development Investment Advisory Board is a forum for the Network’s private sector banking partners and members to discuss current and future opportunities and challenges facing our sector. Working with staff, the Advisory Board will foster conversations about products and future needs of non-profit developers and encourage the use of the Community Reinvestment Act in underserved parts of the state. Join us for an invitation only discussion that explores what lenders can do to better serve income-constrained families and communities that continue to be left out of the financial system and the potential partnerships that can create capital solutions.

    Presenter: Zoila Jennings, Impact Investment Lead, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

    Facilitators: Alle Ries, Regional Community Reinvestment Act Officer, M&T Bank; Wanda Saez, Senior Vice President, Social Impact and Sustainability – Public Affairs, Wells Fargo; Staci Berger, President and Chief Executive Officer, HCDNNJ