During National Fair Housing Month in April, it’s an ideal time to reflect on the progress MEND has made over its 50+ year history… and the work that still needs to be done. This month increases efforts to end housing discrimination and raises awareness of fair housing rights.
In 1975, the historic Mount Laurel I decision changed the landscape of affordable housing in the Garden State, ordering all New Jersey municipalities to plan, zone for and take affirmative actions to provide realistic opportunities for their “fair share” of the region’s needs for affordable housing for low and moderate-income people.
Established in 1969, MEND has always been ahead of the curve in addressing affordable housing needs in the suburbs of southern New Jersey. MEND’s vision is that the good, decent people it serves are not looking for a “hand-out,” but rather a “hand-up” for a chance to live in a home they can afford without having to skimp on basic necessities.
Just one year before the Mt. Laurel I decision, MEND began construction of its first apartment development on Beech Street in Moorestown. Today, MEND owns/manages 770 apartments in nine South Jersey towns.
While great strides have been made to provide more affordable housing options, there’s still a great deal to be accomplished.
A recent story reported by New Jersey 101.5, covers a study released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey that reveals a shortage of 217,640 affordable and available rental homes for the 301,079 low income renter households in New Jersey. That’s roughly 33 available units for every 100 low-income renter households. Action must be taken to bridge this gap.
The good news is that under our current govenor, New Jersey is using its dedicated money for affordable housing to fund more affordable housing projects and initiatives.
We look forward to working in partnership with municipalities to fulfill their state-mandated affordable housing obligations and create opportunities for our neighbors in our communities.
We are proud of all the progress we have made, and look forward to closing the gap for our New Jersey neighbors in need.