Even with all of the positive changes that families experience when they are in our programs, finding affordable housing in good neighborhoods can still be a challenge. The lack of affordable housing was already an issue throughout the country before the pandemic. Additional affordable units were impacted by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
Currently, even with rental assistance available (the slow disbursement of this money is a whole other conversation), we are expecting the number of evictions to pick up pace once the eviction moratorium ends for families in New Jersey. Families who end up losing their housing are going to face real challenges identifying new, affordable places to live. Not only will their credit have the blemish of an eviction on it, but also the number of new renters entering the housing market has ballooned since COVID.
Early in the pandemic, buyers were willing to pay a premium for houses in the suburbs, prompting some homeowners to sell earlier than they had planned. Not quite ready to retire, many of these homeowners became renters, adding additional strain to an already inadequate supply of rental properties. As a direct result, rents are soaring!
To help our families and round out the services we provide, Family Promise is hiring a Housing Specialist. This person will be responsible for understanding the housing market, building relationships with landlords and property managers, and ultimately helping families in our programs find apartments they can afford. They will also develop workshops that will provide useful information such as housing resources and tenant rights to the families.
Considering the housing landscape, it is more important than ever that families develop the skills they need to compete for better paying jobs. They will need to have good credit, a steady income, and adequate savings to rent (or buy!) in good neighborhoods. Family Promise programs are designed to empower families to do just that.
Calling all landlords: If you or someone you know have an apartment that you would consider renting to a Family Promise graduate please let us know. We will add you to our list of landlords and reach out to you when a family graduates from one of our programs.