"Somerset County is one of the best places in the state for children, according to the latest annual Kids Count report released Monday. For the second year in a row, Somerset County was ranked No. 3 in the report, which measures the state's 21 counties in 13 categories, including poverty, health, safety and education. Nearby Morris and Hunterdon counties finished ahead of Somerset."
"The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 25 percent of the energy used in schools is wasted. In a world of shrinking budgets and resources, energy-efficiency savings in utility costs could be used for desperately needed funding for additional teachers and school resources. Nowhere is this more important than in our nation's poorest school districts, where the concept of a green, healthy school is rarely a priority."
"A $128,000 grant will provide emergency services to low-income residents in three Essex County towns. A $128,505.50 County Community Services Block grant has been awarded to the Montclair Neighborhood Development Corporation, an area nonprofit, to assist needy residents in Montclair, Bloomfield, and Belleville, Freeholder Brendan Gill announced in a release this week."
"While many children in low-income families began to get health coverage under the federal Medicaid program in 1965, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1997 increased the number of children with coverage. Eligibility was expanded even further in 2009 through a law signed by President Barack Obama, a year before he signed the broader Affordable Care Act into law."
"As New Jersey policymakers close in on a deal to boost New Jersey’s transportation funding, a bold solution that raises at least $1 billion a year is essential if New Jersey wants to take advantage of one of its greatest economic assets – its location – and rebuild a strong state economy. Equally essential, policy experts and advocates said on a press conference call today, is offsetting the disproportionate impact a gas tax increase would have on low-income households by strengthening a key tax credit for working families – the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)."
"A Pennsylvania-based real estate development firm is seeking tax credits for a 40-unit housing project that would increase options on Mansfield’s south side for low-income residents. The proposal, centered on the former SG Roy Clifton Scouten U.S. Army Reserve Center armory at 271 Hedges St. and nearby property, would include housing for 12 homeless people."
"News about the present and future of American K-12 education continues to be discouraging, but a series of effective out-of-school programs is creating a glimmer of hope. If we focus on these, thousands of children can be salvaged from a broken system."
"The income gap between New Jersey's wealthiest residents and all other groups has widened significantly since the turn of the century, and grew worse after the recent Great Recession lifted, according to a new report. Only the top 20 percent of households in the state has seen their average income increase since the recession ended in 2009, according to the study released today by Legal Services of New Jersey, an Edison-based organization that gives free legal help to low-income residents in civil cases."
"A botched computer system implementation has led to persistent delays in getting food and healthcare to low-income residents and may cost the state millions of dollars and access to future federal funding. The problem was raised at a legislative hearing yesterday, after a state auditor issued a report criticizing the contract. The commissioner in charge of the program refused to testify, citing ongoing negotiations."
"Housing advocates are urging Congress to restore housing vouchers to their pre-sequestration levels to reduce waiting lists and help more New Jerseyans afford a decent place to live. The automatic federal budget cuts that took effect in 2013 led to a loss of almost 1,600 Housing Choice Vouchers in the state, according to Kate Kelly of Monarch Housing Associates. These vouchers are the primary form of federal housing assistance, allowing low-income families, seniors and others to pay for housing that they find in the private market. More than three-quarters of the state's 79 public housing authorities lost vouchers due to sequestration."
"For more than a decade, Whitney has been doing the same for students who pass through the various SAEE programs now incorporated under one roof in Lucy Stone Hall on the Livingston Campus. Last spring saw the merger of Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math-Science; the EOF programs of the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; the Student Support Services Program; the Ronald E. McNair Program; and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation."
"More than a third of hospitalization costs in 13 low-income New Jersey communities are associated with behavioral health conditions, including mental health disorders and substance use, accounting for $880 million in annual inpatient costs, according to a new Rutgers study."
"Rowan University has been named the second best college in the nation for social mobility according to the Social Mobility Index, a joint project from CollegeNET and PayScale. The index takes information on the tuition and economic background of the student body and then compares them to graduation rate and median early career salary to find the colleges offering the best investment for low-income students. Glassboro-based Rowan came in just behind Montana Tech of the University of Montana."
"Hundreds of people lined up in Hoboken Wednesday morning, some having stayed overnight, for a chance to get low-income housing in the city and in Weehawken. City police estimated that roughly 800 to 1000 people were waiting outside the Hoboken Elks Club on Wednesday morning to apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, a rental assistance program available to certain low-income families. Applied Housing Management Co. on Wednesday opened up its waiting list for housing in privately owned buildings in Weehawken and Hoboken."
"A new partnership between Union County College and Kean University will work to bolster the success of Hispanic and low-income students in science, engineering, technology and math, with support from a $3.25 million federal grant. Officials from both schools Monday announced the collaborative effort, which creates a joint-admissions program between the two institutions in hopes of improving retention, graduation and transfer rates for a student population they said is underrepresented in the sciences."
"The number of state low-income children eating breakfast at school jumped 55 percent in the past four years, according to an annual report released Tuesday by Advocates for Children of New Jersey. Nearly all major urban school districts now serve breakfast 'after the bell,' according to Nancy Parello, spokeswoman for the nonprofit."
“The municipality would like to see more affordable housing in Princeton to make it a more economically diverse place, but the state is recommending it not build any more — a proposal town officials say could make it hard to squeeze more affordable housing out of developers.”
“Few Americans believe they could live on a minimum-wage paycheck. In high-cost states such as New Jersey, the minimum wage can hardly be called a living wage – even after it was raised from $7.25 an hour to $8.25 this year. That small act of honesty – conceding that the minimum wage is too meager to support their own family – doesn’t stop many Americans (mostly Republicans) from trying to stop the lowest-paid workers from getting a sorely needed boost.”
“On Monday, June 30, three development partners broke ground for Kilmer Homes, an affordable housing rental community at the former Camp Kilmer at the corner of Truman Road and Road 2 in the township.”
“What some advocates describe as a crisis in affordable housing in the state is not likely to be solved anytime soon, as evidenced by the storm of protest during a public hearing yesterday over the latest regulations under consideration by the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing.”
“Housing advocates today took aim at the Christie administration's long-awaited guidelines for how many affordable homes New Jersey needs, calling the plan inadequate and arguing that it violates a mandate from the state Supreme Court.”
“The complex is designed for individuals and families with 24 one-bedroom, 72 two-bedroom and 24 three-bedroom units all equipped with private kitchens and bathrooms, energy efficient appliances, on-site parking, security features and social service functions. Of the 120 units, 88 apartments will be reserved for households at or below 60 percent of the area median income and 30 apartments reserved as permanent, supportive and affordable apartment for homeless people who will pay no more than 30 percent of their household income toward housing.”
“A homeless encampment near the Jersey shore that came to be known as Tent City and shined an uncomfortable spotlight on homelessness in the suburbs was declared closed after the last of its 120 occupants was placed in temporary housing.”
“New Jersey's new Council on Affordable Housing rules for the state's 565 towns calls for approximately 50,000 new homes to be built, and identifies more than 62,000 homes currently occupied by low and moderate income families that need to be fixed up. The Department of Community Affairs, which is under the umbrella of the council, has declined to comment on the new proposed rules as well as on their specific effects on any New Jersey municipalities.”
“What's affordable, however, has been a major point of contention. The government offered tax credits to consumers who bought policies on the exchange and made less than four times the poverty level — about $46,000 for an individual and $94,000 for a family of four. But the report shows that in New Jersey, health insurance, even with tax breaks, still could be pricey.”
“The board will vote on whether to approve the Community Eligibility Provision for all Wayne County Schools. The CEP is for schools with high percentages of low-income children. It's intent is to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students.”
“Seniors on fixed incomes have been plagued in recent years with rising expenses for housing, transportation and health care. In many cases, this has resulted in a rise in senior hunger and even homelessness. Heat and eat programs are vital for our most economically vulnerable residents.”
“The annual ‘Point-in-Time’ count conducted at the end of January estimates the state's homeless population at 13,900 - a 15 percent increase from 2013 - according to findings released Monday. Over five years, that increase is 2 percent.”
“After volunteers and aid workers spent a frigid 24 hours in January counting the homeless in America's poorest and most dangerous city, the results are finally in. There were 654 homeless people in the county of Camden, N.J., on Jan. 28, up slightly from 641 last year, according to the Point-In-Time survey.”
“On the cold, dark night of Jan. 28, volunteers and social workers fanned out across the state and found a staggering 13,900 men, women and children who had no home to call their own. Nearly a thousand of them were unsheltered — living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus and train stations and camp sites.”
“New Jersey’s homeless population increased 16 percent in 2014, with spikes in Gloucester, Camden and Burlington counties, according to a statewide count released Monday.”
“The number of homeless people in Ocean and Monmouth counties is down as more superstorm Sandy-displaced residents have moved out of emergency shelters and into their own homes or more permanent housing.”
“Homelessness in Morris County is up 12 percent over last year, according to a point-in-time count conducted Jan. 28 for the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.”
“In April, the Town Council gave the green light for a nonprofit to develop almost seven acres of the property for affordable housing. Two related nonprofit development groups have proposed 120 units of housing, with 24 one-bedroom units, 66 two-bedroom units and 30 three-bedroom units.”
“New guidelines designed to determine how much affordable housing will be needed in New Jersey’s 565 towns over the next 20 years are already being criticized by housing experts as insufficient and opaque less than two weeks after they were unveiled to the public.”
“Gov. Chris Christie says Atlantic County's new system to coordinate services for homeless people can become a model for New Jersey and the rest of the country.”
“Despite popular notions regarding our nation’s homeless youth, these young people are often running from something rather than toward something.”
“Under strict orders from the state Supreme Court, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration today unveiled a long-awaited set of rules for how many affordable homes should be available for low-income residents in each New Jersey town.”
“New Jersey's Council on Affordable Housing is expected to reveal its latest plan for how much housing should be made available to lower-income people in every town.”
“Colbert is one of a growing number of veterans who was facing homelessness, according to Monmouth County officials. But, because of aggressive measures to address the problem of homelessness in Monmouth County, Colbert is one of more than 200 people in the county receiving assistance through programs funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, county officials said.”
“The answer to homelessness has eluded communities for generations. One of the key questions comes straight out of a movie, a version of that, if you will: If you expand a homeless center, will they come? Will too many come?”
“Hunterdon County is the best place in the state for children, according to new rankings and county profiles released today by the Advocates for the Children of New Jersey.”
“A single adult in Wayne County needs to make $11.64 an hour just to pay for the bare essentials in life, according to a study.”
“By all accounts, enrollment in the expanded Medicaid program has gone well in New Jersey. The numbers are robust as the program’s expansion under the Affordable Care Act allows single residents and childless couples to get coverage provided their income is low enough.”
“Should lawmakers pass a bill that would increase the minimum wage for waiters and other workers in New Jersey who rely on tips for a living?”
“Waiters and other workers who rely on tips to make a living would see a bump in their base pay under a bill approved by an Assembly panel today. The Assembly Labor Committee today voted 6-3 along party lines to raise the minimum hourly wage that businesses are required to pay to tipped workers – currently $2.13 – to an estimated $3.39 by the end of 2014 and $5.93 by 2015.”
“Monmouth County’s annual Project Homeless Connect, a one-stop event to provide various health and human services for homeless residents or those who are in danger of becoming homeless, was held recently in Asbury Park, Freehold and Red Bank.”
“Bulldozers are taking down tents, one for each person placed in housing through a township program established to empty Tent City, a homeless encampment off Cedar Bridge Avenue and South Clover Street, officials said.”
“The Christie administration has announced that nearly 230,000 households received heating assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).”
“Why do we play hot potato with students from low-income families? Rutherford County Board of Education officials told us one of the main reasons to convert Central Middle to Central Magnet for high achievers was because the former middle school had a high percentage of children who came from families with low enough incomes to qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.”
“Now, instead of plaguing her, those childhood memories of isolation and inadequacy fuel Nguyen’s volunteer work with the homeless, another often misunderstood population.”
“New Jersey has shown marked increases in getting low-income children to eat breakfast in school, while Pennsylvania has demonstrated slow improvement in serving the meals.”
“That’s the cold reality for Morris County’s homeless community, many of whom have battled the elements constantly these frigid weeks, some sleeping in tents while others are on the street.”
“They are just three of the thousands of people with no place to call home who were surveyed Wednesday by volunteers during the state's annual Point-in-Time Count of New Jersey's homeless population. Armed with clipboards and a large dose of compassion, the volunteers spread out through the state's 21 counties, searching streets, shelters, doorways and under bridge trestles in search of the homeless.”
“There was an 8.9 percent increase in the Hudson County homeless population in 2013, and the program director at a local shelter doesn’t see it getting any better when the annual count is performed today.”
“Bergen County will invite the homeless in from the cold Wednesday. The county is holding its eighth annual Project Homeless Connect event at the Housing, Health and Human Services Center.”
“There were fewer homeless individuals living in Middlesex County in 2013, but those living in shelters or on the streets are remaining homeless for longer.”
“Nerlene Mayers used to be a statistic — one of the estimated 1,500 homeless people in Middlesex County. Mayers lost her job in 2009 and her home in 2010. Recently, with the help of a nonprofit foundation, Mayers and her children found a place to live at Imani Park, Edison, a transitional housing project backed by the resource group Making It Possible to End Homelessness.”
“There were fewer homeless individuals living in Middlesex County in 2013, but those living in shelters or on the streets are remaining homeless for longer.”
“Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, observed in more than 200 communities across 40 states, is held on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year.”
“Effective Wednesday, New Jersey's minimum wage will rise by $1 to $8.25 an hour, boosting the paychecks of more than 250,000 New Jerseyans and bumping up costs for businesses with low-wage workers.”
“The search for affordable housing in her beloved Morris County was on — and ended at the Robert T. Burroughs Apartments at 44 Cook Ave. in Madison.”
“The reason for the gathering, after all, was sobering: Just a mile away there are about 120 people who are homeless and are living in tents off Cedar Bridge Road in an encampment called Tent City.”
“Homelessness is one of the most extreme forms of poverty anywhere, but in suburbia these days it is one of many. The number of people receiving government assistance and food stamps is going up. So, too, are the ranks of working people who, try as they might, cannot make enough to pay their bills.”
“A new report published by a Rutgers-Camden professor on Wednesday states there are more areas of concentrated poverty in the United States than have been previously recorded, with small to mid-sized cities showing the biggest increase in impoverished neighborhoods.”
“’There are probably about 1,300 people that are homeless in Middlesex County each year,’ said Philip Webb, executive director of Making it Possible to End Homelessness, an Edison-based nonprofit. ‘The slightest thing can cause eviction if you have very little money and have children.’”
“The city will not operate the welfare office after Jan. 31, but Hackensack clients can continue to visit the City Hall office, because it will be run by county employees during a transitional period, said interim City Manager Anthony Rottino. The Bergen County Board of Social Services will take over operations, and cases will be shifted to the main offices in Rochelle Park at a later, unknown date.”
“Without another place to go, men and women around Ocean County have struggled for years to make homes for themselves where they can. Sometimes they have lived in motel rooms. Others have braced for winters underneath tarps and tents propped in a wooded encampment.”
“New Jersey and other states expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act showed a jump in enrollments for that safety-net program in the first month of sign-ups, comparing favorably to results in the new insurance marketplaces for those who purchased private health plans.”
“U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J. 6th District, decried cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) during Monday morning’s visit to Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen in the city.”
“U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J. 6th District, decried cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) during Monday morning’s visit to Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen in the city.”
“America’s homeless, by definition, are a population hard to quantify. They don't always live in ‘homes,’ i.e., well-furnished apartments or houses in established neighborhoods. They don't live in military barracks or college dorms. No, among the homeless, the lucky find transitional housing or take refuge in shelters, while the unlucky might live in a cardboard box under an overpass.”
“There were fewer people counted as homeless in Bergen and Passaic counties in 2013, a trend seen across the country, according to a federal study released on Thursday.”
“That means that no matter what economic situation the state is facing, there will be an increase in to the minimum wage. The president is now backing a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 to be adjusted each year according to inflation, which is a $1 more than he proposed during his State of the Union Address in February.”
“While New Jersey’s minimum wage will get a slight boost come January, one advocacy group claims more needs to be done to close the gap between poverty-level incomes and what people actually need to survive.”
“Increasing New Jersey's minimum wage now and through annual cost-of-living raises will help workers and boost the economy. Or it will force businesses to increase prices and cut hours, hurting consumers and workers.”
“Republicans in Washington are upset that growing numbers of Americans rely on food stamps, driving up the cost of the program. So as of today, roughly 10 percent of New Jersey families who rely on food stamps will see their benefits cut back to pre-recession levels.”
“The proposal has resulted in an avalanche of special-interest spending, amplifying a long-running debate: Does a mandated wage hike help low-wage employees and spur economic activity or does it hurt business owners, taxpayers and even those workers it purports to benefit?”
“Union members joined elected officials in front of the Walter Rand Transportation Center Wednesday morning to rally in support of raising the minimum wage in New Jersey and encouraging voters to vote ‘yes’ next week to approve the measure.”
“Most students in schools where the vast majority of students are black or Latino face poverty as well and grapple with enormous challenges in getting a decent education, a diploma and a seat in college.”
“For the one in seven New Jerseyans who don’t know where their next meal will come from, hunger is a problem of resources. For the countless organizations and advocates working to end hunger throughout the state, it’s a problem of image.”
“While a recent state Supreme Court decision was expected to eliminate much of the uncertainty surrounding New Jersey’s affordable housing program, stakeholders still disagree on how the decision will affect residents and taxpayers.”
“Americans used to enjoy upward mobility, but in recent decades the prospects for the middle and working classes have been stagnant. During that period of time almost all of the increases in productivity, income and wealth have benefited those who are already quite affluent.”
“Raising New Jersey’s minimum wage by $1 would either be a job killer that especially hurts teenage workers and small businesses or a modest and overdue acknowledging of the struggles of people on the lowest rung of the economic ladder.”
“An estimated 5.4 percent of Bucks residents lived in poverty in 2012, Census records show. That’s up from an estimated 3.5 percent at the start of the recession back in 2009.”
“More than 630,000 New Jersey children now live in poverty. Many of them will go to bed hungry tonight. Maybe they won’t feel hungry, their little bellies filled with potato chips and cheap bologna, but — according to U.S. Census figures — more than half a million children are living in New Jersey families who earn too little to meet basic needs.”
“While last week’s long-awaited state Supreme Court decision was expected to eliminate much of the uncertainty surrounding New Jersey’s affordable housing program, stakeholders still disagree on how it will affect local residents and taxpayers.”
“It costs a family about $50 per week per child for baby formula and $150 a month for diapers and related supplies. This means for families earning minimum wage, 30 percent of their take-home pay is earmarked for formula and diapers. Locally, there is some relief available for those families who are struggling to care for infants.”
“A report finds the number of low-income children who eat breakfast at New Jersey schools has jumped by 21 percent from October 2010 to March 2012.”
“In the two years since Edison schools have switched from serving breakfast before classes begin to after the bell rings, more eligible students are being served.”
“Schools in New Jersey are feeding breakfasts to more low-income students, but as many as 320,000 who are eligible are still not being served.”
“More than 630,000 New Jersey children lived in low-income families earning too little to meet their needs in 2012 — a 19 percent increase since 2008, according to new U.S. Census data.”
“Need evidence that the federal budget cuts enacted under the so-called sequester are taking a toll on people in North Jersey? Look no further than Head Start, the widely acclaimed program that provides early childhood education and other services to low-income children and their families.”
“In a narrow ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the state to rewrite its rules on how many homes municipalities must provide for lower-income residents, striking down provisions that opponents said allowed wealthy towns to avoid building affordable housing.”
“When federal funding cuts took place this year, thousands of low-income children and their introduction to education through Early Head Start and Head Start programs were affected nationwide.”
“New Jersey is not doing enough to foster affordable housing in every community, the state Supreme Court said Thursday in a major decision that gives the Christie administration five months to draft new housing rules.”
“The New Jersey economy is getting better — for some people, not everyone. That was the sobering message from data released last week by the state and federal governments.”
“These are just some of the reasons why we support the November constitutional referendum that would raise the state’s minimum wage by $1 to $8.25 an hour, with annual automatic adjustments tied to the Consumer Price Index.”
“For the first time since the 2007-09 recession, New Jersey's household income rose last year, ticking up 1.2 percent to a median $69,667 -- suggesting that the worst is over for the state's economy, though it has not come close to regaining the ground it lost.”
“Here’s a statistic Gov. Chris Christie won’t be touting any time soon: Researchers from Legal Services of New Jersey last week issued a report that says nearly a third of New Jerseyans — 2.7 million — are living in poverty. That’s the highest percentage in 50 years.”
“But even when the economy finally accelerates, many people will be left behind, casualties of a pounding recession and a lackadaisical recovery. In parts of New Jersey the picture is especially bleak, judging from a report just published by the Poverty Research Institute, an arm of Legal Services of New Jersey.”
“A new report claims one-quarter of New Jerseyans are living in poverty. The study released Sunday by the Legal Services of New Jersey Poverty Research Institute concludes that more than two million people in New Jersey are struggling to meet their basic needs. Their numbers have increased since the beginning of the economic recession by more than 300,000.”
“Poverty in New Jersey continued to grow even as the national recession lifted, reaching a 52-year high in 2011, according to a report released today.”
“Poverty in New Jersey has hit its highest level in 50 years, and the official measure understates the actual extent of need and want, a nonprofit is reporting today.”
“New Jersey lawmakers, local officials, and labor and women's rights leaders, citing a need to support working women, called Monday for raising the state's minimum wage.”
“A coalition of lawmakers, labor and social advocacy groups joined together today to call upon New Jersey voters to pass a hike in the minimum wage this fall and to ensure politics won’t delay future increases.”
“More than 7,000 veterans in New Jersey are reported to be homeless each year, but with the help of the nonprofit Soldier On, more and more of them are receiving assistance.”
“The county's homeless shelter will start issuing identification cards to its residents on Friday after a police quality-of-life initiative that has resulted in frequent stops of homeless people in the city. The cards will help police know who is staying at the shelter — as opposed to people who falsely claim to be staying there — and those who might need help, officials said.”
“A sliver of light has finally escaped from the usually dark data on America's weight: Obesity among low-income preschoolers in New Jersey has declined slightly.”
“Under the affordable housing requirements in the state of New Jersey, every municipality is supposed to have a certain number of homes that are priced to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income families. Within that mix, some of the units can be designated for special-needs individuals or senior citizens. The question is whether there is enough stock of affordable rental units to meet the region's need.”
“Life may get harsher and hungrier for nearly three million people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on Nov. 1, when food-stamp benefits will be cut overnight for the first time in U.S. history.”
“As shelter administrators said they're working to reduce the number of homeless by getting them social services, drug and alcohol treatment, job training and permanent housing, police said the overwhelming majority of homeless on the streets have extensive criminal records and they aim to strictly enforce the law against panhandling and drinking in public.”
“Who are minimum wage earners in New Jersey? According to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute, they aren't your part-time teen workers looking for some extra pocket money. Eighty-six percent are over 20, most are full-time workers and are married. About 30 percent have some college education, while 13 percent have a bachelor's degree. And 20 percent or more have at least one child.”
“With food-stamp benefits soon to drop and the prospect of an additional $40 billion in cuts to the federal program looming, New Jersey antihunger organizations worry that the need will grow and they won't be able to meet it.”
“As part of the effort, police frequently patrol places where homeless gather, stop them, check ID, identifications, run warrants and issue summonses for violations. Police say they're making the streets safer and cleaner; many residents and business owners agree. But homeless people say they're being harassed.”
“One of the four private insurance companies that manage the care of the state’s Medicaid population was criticized in an audit released Wednesday for not having enough investigators to root out fraud and waste.”
“Last week, Westervelt found out that his proposal - to demolish the Social Security structure at 396 Bloomfield Ave. and replace it with a four-story building to provide permanent housing and mental health services to homeless veterans - received conditional approval from the federal government.”
“The battle is the latest conflict here in which low-income or middle-class residents believe developers and officials are casting aside their homes like the plastic houses in Monopoly, the board game inspired by Atlantic City real estate.”
“Earlier this year, both Democrats in the state Legislature and Republican Gov. Chris Christie agreed to increase the state’s minimum wage. This bipartisan coalition in favor of a bad idea didn’t hold up for long, however: Christie asked the Legislature to phase in the increase over a three-year period, and objected to a provision that would have put future hikes on autopilot.”
“An investigation into 15 New Jersey school districts turned up more than 100 public employees and family members who lied about their incomes to get free school lunches for their children, according to the state comptroller. Their applications bolstered district enrollment figures in the federal free lunch program - a factor that allows school districts to receive more state aid.”
“’It’s hot out there and one of the things we’re doing is interacting with people,’ said Hackensack Police Director Michael Mordaga. ‘We’re giving them cold water and fruit and explaining to them they’re better off hanging out in homeless shelter.’ The city’s homeless population factors high into policing efforts in the city, Mordaga said.”
“The Rutherford Council voted to hire an economics firm to help sift through the confusion of Rutherford’s affordable housing requirements and is considering handing over COAH funds to the state.”
“It's time for New Jersey to stop playing games over affordable housing and require municipalities to meet their legal obligation to open up their borders to the less affluent.”
“Dozens of public employees, teachers and school board members trying to get free lunch for their kids shaved at least $25,000 off their income when applying for the taxpayer-funded benefits, a top state investigator says. Seventeen others tried to hide more than $100,000, according to the investigator’s office, and one signed off on a form that cut the family income by $220,000 to take advantage of a program designed to feed the nation’s poorest children.”
“Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono today called it an ‘atrocity’ that New Jersey’s minimum wage is not higher than the federal minimum, joining other politicians and labor leaders in urging voters to approve a pay hike when it appears on the ballot this November.”
“Newark Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker presented his first federal policy plan at the George Washington School on July 8, unveiling a four-part blueprint for the eradication of child poverty nationwide. Booker chose the setting because poverty in Bergen County has grown significantly in recent years, said his press secretary, Ajashu Thomas.”
“So it came as welcome news to learn that the state Supreme Court yesterday blocked Christie from sabotaging efforts to create affordable housing by abolishing the independent agency charged with that task. The agency, the Council on Affordable Housing, was created in 1985 in response to a Supreme Court ruling that struck down barriers to affordable housing and required the state and local governments to actively promote opportunities to build it.”
“Middlesex County ranked fifth in the Kids Count survey conducted by Advocates for Children of New Jersey. The annual survey measures the wellbeing of children statewide by measuring standards in 13 key areas, including infant mortality and state exams. ‘While the rankings shift every year, we see certain trends across many counties, including increasing child poverty, unemployment and high housing costs,’ said Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey.”
“Gov. Chris Christie cannot shut down an independent state agency charged with building affordable housing for New Jersey’s poorest residents, the state Supreme Court ruled today. The decision deals a blow to the Republican governor’s agenda and shields other independent agencies from similar power grabs.”
“In a 5-2 decision, the court ruled that Christie overstepped his authority in 2011 when he announced plans to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing. Christie used the state's Executive Reorganization Act of 1969, which gives the governor the power to rearrange state government. But the justices noted that another law, the 1985 Fair Housing Act that created the council, was designed to insulate affordable-housing decisions from political pressures.”
“Newark Mayor and U.S. Senate hopeful Cory Booker today will release a plan to curb childhood poverty nationally by increasing federal benefits for the poor, expanding access to affordable housing and making pre-school and college more available to America's low-income families.”
“In a speech in Edgewater, Booker unveiled a series of proposals aimed at helping children emerge from poverty. He said the ideas will save money for the government over time by attacking poverty itself rather than responding to its effects.”
“For New Jerseyans working at minimum wage, it appears an increase for them will be granted by the state’s registered voters who, this November, will decide on a ballot question increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour and tie future increases to the cost of living index.”
“This fall, the most important question on the ballot isn’t who should govern the state in Trenton or represent it in Washington, but whether the state constitution should be altered to hike the minimum wage and put it on autopilot to rise in most years thereafter. It’s a radical means of pursuing a debatable public policy — and it sets a dangerous precedent for contentious issues that deserve proper debate through the state’s normal legislative process.”
“Not including those displaced by Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey has more than 25,000 homeless individuals and families, 7,000 people with developmental disabilities on a state waiting list for community housing, and approximately 18,000 men and women living in rooming and boarding homes rather than their own apartments. We are an affluent state that has not addressed its shortage of homes for our most vulnerable residents.”
“Back in its heyday, SOS shelters had 188 women and children. Today it’s down to 40 to 50 residents and only receives funding for 10 to 12 of them, Ramos said, even though she’s certain they would be out on the street or back with their batterers if not for SOS. Due to government cutbacks, the organization’s funding has dropped from over $200,000 a month to about $20,000, Ramos said.”
“New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday vetoed a bill that attempted to make the state's expansion of Medicaid eligibility permanent under the healthcare law known as Obamacare, his office said on Friday.”
“New Jersey is the fifth best state in America to raise a child, with fewer kids in poverty, more attending preschool and more graduating high school on time than the national average, a new report released today shows. With the annual Kids Count report, New Jersey has now ranked in the top ten kid-friendly states for 15 consecutive years, although it slipped one spot from last year’s survey. The report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation uses the latest government data to measure family health, wealth and stability.”
“Two Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, the party’s nominee for governor and top union leaders this morning kicked off a campaign to raise state’s minimum wage. ’You look all around this region and poor working people are having to pay more for rent, more for food, more for gas, more for transportation, more for tuition,’ Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the frontrunner for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, told about 65 people gathered at the New Hope Baptist Church. ‘All of these costs going up but minimum wage has stayed the same.’”
“The 47-year-old federal program pays for free breakfasts for children who come from families with incomes at or below $29,965, which is 130 percent of the federal poverty level. Children from families with incomes at or below $42,643 can receive reduced-price breakfasts.”
“Affordable-housing advocates told an appellate panel of judges Wednesday that the Christie administration, in its rush to balance the state budget, ‘set up’ towns to fail when it tried to take up to $165 million in local housing funds. Kevin Walsh, an attorney for the Fair Share Housing Center, argued that the move would put thousands of units of housing for low-income and disabled New Jerseyans at risk and stifle development that is needed to help rebuild after superstorm Sandy devastated houses along the shore last year.”
“A bill aimed at bringing new business to impoverished neighborhoods received final legislative approval and is now headed to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk to be signed, state Sen. Shirley Turner said in a news release yesterday.”
“Transitioning into civilian life can be one of the most difficult processes for veterans, many of whom are distressed, disabled or homeless, many say. Yet, like Ehrie, hundreds of veterans have taken the steps they need to become self-sufficient again through Community Hope at the VA NJ Healthcare campus.”
“The Kids Count report, which is complied yearly by the Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ), measures progress in improving the lives of children in 15 critical areas including child health, safety and education. The ACNJ reported Salem County in the "worse" category, as it dropped from its 2012 18th place ranking. This year, Salem reported 22 percent of its child population living below the poverty line.”
“Camden and Gloucester Counties both saw an increase in the percentage of children living in poverty from 2010 to 2011, while in Burlington County, median family income dropped and more than half of the county's families paid more than the recommended 30 percent of income for housing, according to a new study released Wednesday.”
“The study, by Advocates for New Jersey, found that the number of children living below the poverty line in the Garden State swelled by 25 percent between 2007 and 2011.”
“In 2011, almost one-third of New Jersey’s children 5 and under were living in low-income households — defined as those earning at or below 200 percent of the poverty level, or about $37,000 for a family of three — according to the report. From 2007, when the Great Recession began, to 2011, the number of children living in poverty climbed 20 percent, the report found, and families with the youngest children were the hardest hit.”
“To cope with families’ diminished resources, enrollment soared by 80 percent in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, which served about 400,000 children last year, according to the report. The number of students getting free or reduced-price breakfasts rose 24 percent, and lunches 17 percent.”
“Lower-wage jobs in the retail, landscaping and the food-services industry have migrated into the suburbs in recent years, said Alan Berube, senior fellow at Brookings and co-author of the book. He explained that as second- and third-generation immigrants as well as African Americans moved from cities to the suburbs, they created opportunities for low-wage jobs, which brought new immigrants and increased poverty levels.”
“Ten years ago the company created a program that would donate 20,000 $50,000 life insurance policies nationwide to low-income families. The policies last ten years and would go directly to the children of the deceased for educational costs. So far close to 13,000 people have qualified for the insurance. The company would like to issue 20,000 policies by the end of the year.”
“Children in New Jersey's poorest cities have benefited from a 1998 state Supreme Court mandate requiring the state to offer free preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds in those cities. Some low-income children outside those urban areas have access, too, but advocates have expressed frustration that the state's plans to expand preschools have stalled despite parents' demands.”
“This is why the best early childhood programs pay for themselves. They reduce welfare rolls and prison costs, and have been shown to cut the need for special education services nearly in half. So the real question here isn't whether to invest in preschool. It's what kind of preschool it is: Quality matters.”
“Kelsey said the committee needs to immediately provide help to STEPS, or the May 3 court imposed deadline will not be met. Superior Court Judge Joseph Foster approved the agreement between the homeless and township because STEPS would help find homes for the campers.”
“According to the report, for every 100 low-income renters, there are only 30 available units. Most new construction and renovations are for high-income families, Poppe said.”
“Gateway Community Action Partnership has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation to continue the Community Connections for Bright Smiles program. The program covers the cost of oral exams, preventative care and education for low-income children and families in Cumberland, Salem and Gloucester counties.”
“Of all the people who registered for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in New Jersey, nearly 45 percent reported household incomes of less than $30,000 per year, the advocacy group, Enterprise Community Partners of Maryland, reported.”
“The district must do more to provide hands-on attention, he says, than simply handing out a phone number for HomeFront or other agencies and making a quick referral. Mercer County has a strong network of services and help for the homeless. But without access to a computer or a social worker or an empathetic ear, some families may not know where to turn in the blur of events leading to loss of their home.”
“Preschool advocates are renewing a plea for more state funding for free preschool for low-income children wherever they live, saying New Jersey has failed to live up to a 2008 promise to provide it.”
“Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups praised Gov. Chris Christie's decision to expand the state's Medicaid program to cover tens of thousands of uninsured New Jerseyans yesterday, calling it a compassionate move that would help the state economy. Although Christie emphasized he is ‘no fan of the Affordable Care Act,’ he said the move was ‘the smart thing to do for our fiscal and public health.’”
“Governor Christie should use his annual budget address on Tuesday to announce that New Jersey will expand its Medicaid program in accordance with federal health care legislation. That's the right thing to do for an estimated 300,000 low-income residents and for the state as a whole.”
“The looming cuts, if they occur, are expected to hit hard in New Jersey's public schools and Head Start classrooms. David Sciarra, executive director of the Newark-based Education Law Center, said one analysis said special education could lose more than $18 million in New Jersey; Head Start programs could be cut by $7.6 million; and Title 1 funds -- which pay for basic skills programs for poor and struggling children -- could be cut by nearly $16 million.”
“Tri-County Community Action Agency will receive $239,234 to help low-income individuals in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties with health, education, employment, housing and other services that benefit low-income communities.”
“The findings in the report are ‘shocking’ and ‘alarming,’ Zalkind said. Kids Count provides a yearly snapshot of the well-being of children in Newark, based on health, education and economic factors. For the first time, Kids Count examined poverty levels in Newark by age group and found that five out of 10 children age 5 and younger live in poverty.”
“The youngest residents of Newark will be getting an influx of the city’s Facebook challenge grant money that's aimed at boosting early childhood development, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and community leaders announced today. The $250,000 matching grant comes as part of the overall push to transform public education in the state’s largest city, kicked off by the $100 million challenge gifted by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.”
“Democratic lawmakers are taking Governor Christie up on his offer to restore an income tax credit for low-income workers that he cut in 2010 -- but with a twist. On Monday, Christie conditionally vetoed a bill that would have raised the state minimum wage to $8.50 from $7.25 and tied future increases to inflation. The governor made a counterproposal to raise the minimum by a dollar over three years and restore a cut he had made in the Earned Income Tax Credit.”
“A number of education issues were on the agenda when Cerf appeared before the committee: The ongoing plan for new teacher evaluations; a proposal for an alternate certification pathway for teachers in charter schools; and discussion of school security measures, in the wake of the tragic school shootings in Newtown, Conn. But one of the first things Education Committee Chairwoman Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) asked about was the governor's Educational Adequacy Report, a proposal that would adjust the state's school funding formula to give less extra aid to districts with high numbers of low-income and limited-English-speaking students. Both the Senate and Assembly budget committees have adopted resolutions objecting to the report.”
“Governor Christie's long and contentious battle to weaken New Jersey's strict affordable housing requirements will reach a crucial moment today when the state Supreme Court considers whether to allow him to unilaterally abolish the agency that enforces housing rules. Not only do advocates fear Christie will use the opportunity to undermine rules that require towns to build housing for low-income residents, they say it would set a dangerous precedent and give New Jersey's governor, viewed as one of the most powerful in the country, even more control over state government.”
“Since Sandy struck New Jersey, those affected on the margins of society - the working poor, unemployed, welfare recipients, and those who just never got their lives off the ground - have struggled to find housing and employment in what experts worry could amount to a social crisis in years to come.”
“The count, which is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, consists of a survey given to homeless individuals to find out their specific needs. ‘The point is to collect as much information as possible on the homeless,’ said Randi Moore of the Division of Housing and Community Development. ‘We need to paint a picture of what it's like over here so we can design our services and programs accordingly.’”
“New Jersey's situation is particularly troublesome. The third wealthiest state in the union with the seventh largest economy has 2 million people below the poverty line and the rate rose for the fourth consecutive year, according to Legal Services of N.J.”
“Expanding Medicaid can provide better care, enabling hard-working, low-income wage earners to catch medical conditions early, when treatment can be much cheaper and more effective. This can save both money and needless suffering. In fact, studies show that expanding Medicaid results in fewer unnecessary deaths because it enables low-income people to get preventive care and life-saving drugs.”
“Census data from 2011 showed one-third of children here live in families considered low-income, making, said Cecilia Zalkind, executive director for Advocates of Children in New Jersey, which releases Kids Count data. A low-income family has four or fewer people living off $44,000 per year, she said.”
“Nearly half of South Dakota's pregnancies are unintended, and about 13 percent of those result in abortions, according to a report by the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute. The report, meant to encourage states to promote the use of contraceptives, indicates that the highest rates of unintended pregnancies are among low-income women.”
“More than $430,000 in heating assistance grants, under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), have been awarded to agencies in the 3rd Legislative District by the state Department of Community Affairs.”
“A Burlington County nonprofit housing agency will use a $350,000 grant to develop transitional apartments for single women or homeless mothers with children.”
“The percentage of New Jersey children living in poverty continues to rise, according to the rankings. The survey found 17.4 percent of children live below the poverty line, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as a household of four living on less than $22,811.”
“The grant will enable the Salvation Army to make needed improvements to its transitional residence and emergency shelter for homeless men at the 433 State St. facility. The Salvation Army plans to expand the number of shelter beds, make building safety improvements and purchase equipment, furnishings and vans to improve living conditions for shelter residents.”
“Facing a wide budget gap in early 2010, the Christie administration announced it would not accept any more parents as new applicants and limited eligibility to only those families making no more than 33 percent above the federal poverty rate, or $25,390 for a family of three, based on current income standards. Before the change, FamilyCare accepted parents if they had earned up to twice the poverty rate.”
“As Gov. Chris Christie decides whether to expand Medicaid to 300,000 more low-income people under ‘Obamacare,’ a national study by a nonpartisan research group yesterday estimated it would cost New Jersey $1.5 billion, or 2 percent more over the next decade, and would generate seven times that amount to cover most of the expense.”
“Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has studied the impact of marriage on poverty for 35 years. He explained to editorial writer Julie O'Connor why he thinks marriage is the strongest antidote to child poverty.”
“Over the course of a year, about 29,000 men, women and children find themselves homeless in New Jersey, according to housing officials. In just a few dark hours last month, superstorm Sandy swept countless others from their homes to the makeshift shelters and vacant hotel rooms across Monmouth and Ocean counties.”
“But tell that to the more than 300,000 working adults without health insurance who aren't eligible for Medicaid now because our state doesn't cover adults without children unless they go on welfare and make less than $140 a month. These low-income people would be newly eligible if Christie expands the program. They can't afford the cost of insurance on the individual market. And most work for small employers who can't afford to provide insurance for them. But when they end up in the emergency room, we all pick up the tab.”
“The Bergen County Community Action Partnership in Hackensack is coordinating a new statewide fund geared to address needs among low-income victims of the storm. The Sandy Aftermath Fund for Economic Recovery -- or SAFER -- is being pulled together by Community Action programs around the country.”
“For the sixth year, Tom Carlin, chef/owner of Gladstone Tavern, and his family will trade in a day at home together to serve Thanksgiving dinners to formerly homeless veterans who won't have family to feast with.”
“Some Cumberland County residents affected by Hurricane Sandy will be eligible to apply for emergency food stamps starting next week.”
“For nearly 30 years, a court ruling aimed at preventing discrimination against low-income families has informed decisions on how much affordable housing New Jersey towns must have. Those guidelines could change significantly if the state Supreme Court agrees with municipalities and the Christie administration that development should determine the number of low-cost units in a town.”
“Typically left out of the discussion is the single biggest thing affecting children and the quality of their education - their lives outside the classroom. Poverty, and a lack of support at home, harm a student's learning capability more than anything that occurs inside a school, yet politicians too often talk as if all outside societal problems can be overcome with quality instruction alone.”
“Beginning tomorrow night, Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless (MESH) will sponsor a week of programs and activities highlighting concerns of hunger and homeless people in Montclair and throughout the nation.”
“Hurricane Sandy forced 15 homeless temporary residents of the homeless shelter at New Jersey Harvest Church in Closter, including 11 children, to be moved to Ridgewood after it suffered damage in the storm. The families are part of a program where a different congregation in the area hosts them for a week before they move on to the next church.”
“Those who stayed behind in Atlantic City to ride out Hurricane Sandy emerged from waterlogged homes and hiding places a little after 10 a.m. Tuesday to find the largest crowds jostling for position in front of the 24/7 Food Market. The line was much shorter at the convenience store just a few blocks down the street. But the 24/7 Food Market had a special appeal to the impoverished, bargain-conscious shoppers who were left in the city in the wake of the massive hurricane.”
“Over the past 16 years that program has helped dozens of homeless women find safe, affordable places to live in a county where the price of even a one-bedroom apartment is often well beyond their reach. Lorenzo noted that the rents charged by homeowners who participate in Shared Housing range from $350 to $800 a month. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Bergen County is about $1,300.”
“The playground marks a very important milestone in the Fairmount neighborhood of Newark and it's part of a multiyear plan to revitalize a community that for too long has been depressed by poverty and crime. Most of its green spaces are cemeteries. And yet, Fairmount is also home to resilient families and community members who are embarking on a journey to restore Fairmount to its former vibrant self.”
“Researchers from Rutgers University are starting field work next month on a long-term project to interview South Jersey's ‘working poor’ families and the organizations that could, but may not, be helping them with everything from getting jobs to finding day care.”
“Momentum is building to move three social-service providers away from Atlantic City's tourism district, where authorities say the homeless and drug-addicted populations they attract contradict the family-friendly image the resort is promoting. Prospective locations in the city have been identified for Sister Jean's Soup Kitchen and the John Brooks Recovery Center, a treatment facility and methadone clinic, officials said.”
“Collectively, helping the poor touches everyone's life, and income. By one estimate, $668 billion a year is spent on anti-poverty and low-income aid programs - from Medicaid to college grants - at an average cost of $6,600 per family that is not in poverty. But the low-income-high-price paradox is a way of life facing more people. Nationally, 46.2 million people were in poverty, or 15 percent of the population, up from 39.3 million in 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”
“Held near the relative safety of the school's softball field, the outdoor event was nevertheless designed as a lesson meant to last a lifetime -- an illustration of what it means to be homeless. For 30 hours, students eat minimal food, live with no cellphone and shiver in the cold autumn air.”
“People who live on minimum wage don't depend on the federal government to survive, said participants in an economic justice forum on Wednesday at the borough's Reformed Church. Rather, they are locked into a system of restrictions that prevent upward mobility and dampen economic security, they said.”
“Of the approximately 185,000 children in Middlesex County, 10 percent live in poverty, according to statistics compiled by the United Way of Central Jersey. A Rutgers University study suggests that a ‘sustainable income’ for a parent and child in the county is $61,149 annually. Yet, United Way employees working at the Milltown-based office recently met with a young man leading a family of three who was happy to find a job paying $6,000 a year.”
“Just a few days earlier, the Census Bureau released annual poverty statistics showing a 1.5 percent decline in household income across the country for everyone except top earners. Its definition of poverty is an under-65 single individual with income of less than $11,702 a year, slightly less for seniors, and $22,881 for a family of four. You'll get no argument from me when you protest no one can survive on that pittance, but it's probably less difficult in some states than here.”
“New Jersey saw a 21 percent rise in the number of low-income students who get school breakfasts, but it still lags far behind most other states, a report released Tuesday found. In South Jersey, seven charter schools or districts were among 64 high-poverty districts statewide where less than 31 percent of eligible students receive subsidized school breakfasts, according to the study by Advocates for Children of New Jersey, a nonprofit child research and action organization.”
“The importance of the school breakfast program comes against a backdrop of rising child poverty and a push by advocates to have schools serve breakfast early in the school day -- but after the bell has sounded. Those advocates say many schools have been unable to get children to arrive early enough for breakfast before that first bell rings, so it's important to serve it in the first few minutes of the school day -- during morning announcements, attendance and other warm-up activities.”
“The Census Bureau recently reported that the number of "working poor" has climbed to the highest level since the 60s. The overall poverty rate has risen from 13.2 percent to 14.3 percent - or 43.5 million people. That's one in every seven Americans. In New Jersey, poverty rate is up from nine to 9.3 percent, up roughly 33,000 people, while child poverty is up from 12.2 to 13.3 percent.”
“At the current rate, working 40 hours a week, a minimum-wage worker in New Jersey would make just over $15,000 a year. That's just $4,000 above the federal poverty rate for a single person, let alone a family. Given New Jersey's expensive housing, antipoverty advocates say, workers need to earn more than $44,700 to keep a family of four out of poverty.”
“The official designation is bad: This is the poorest town in America, the Census Bureau said last week.
But the personal view's even worse: ‘Camden is the saddest place on earth,’ declared Adrian Bartholomew, who was part of a knot of methadone clinic clients milling outside City Hall on Friday morning. An estimated 42.5 percent of Camden's nearly 80,000 residents live below the poverty line, according to a Census Bureau review of 2011 figures.”
“More families received food stamps, fewer children were in private school and incomes dropped in New Jersey in 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday -- all signs pointing to a continued erosion of prosperity in one of the nation's wealthiest states. While many of the statistics changed only slightly, together they paint a picture of a state economy that was still lagging last year, well after the recession officially ended in 2009. New Jersey is still better off than most of the nation, with higher incomes and lower poverty rates.”
“In an unprecedented new study, five years in the making, the United Way of Northern New Jersey presents a harrowing picture of the state's working poor. The report, called ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) is a study of the true face of financial hardship in New Jersey, authored by Stephanie Hoopes Halpin, the director of the New Jersey DataBank at Rutgers University. This is no rehash of government poverty statistics. It is, instead, a disturbing look under the hood at exactly what it takes to survive in the Garden State, who can -- and cannot -- make ends meet.”
“The program in question is the state Earned Income Tax Credit. Since 2000, the state of New Jersey has partnered with the federal government to offer a refundable tax credit for low- and middle-income workers. The credit helps offset the high cost of living in New Jersey and gives adults an incentive to work instead of relying on welfare or other public programs. Christie chose to cut the state tax credit in 2010, effectively raising taxes on the state's poorest workers by an average of $200 per year, according to the New Jersey Policy Perspective research organization.”
“‘The goal of the program is to assist low-income veterans and their families before they become homeless,’ said Julia Bey Ahmet, the non-profit's vice president of development. ‘If they become homeless, we seek to rapidly re-house them before they get lost in the homelessness system.’ To find veterans whose families are homeless or at risk of becoming so, Community Hope does extensive outreach, Ahmet added.”
“She has started a nonprofit organization and is raising funds for low-income kidney disease patients at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, as well as raising awareness about the disease and the importance of organ donations.”
“There are many reasons the homeless come to Atlantic City: for shelter, a feeding kitchen, a temporary job. Many hope that charity follows a windfall; a lucky winner may be feeling generous. But for too long, this entire city has been on a losing streak -- and having panhandlers on the streets doesn't help. With the recent opening of the Revel luxury casino and Gov. Chris Christie's effort to recast its seedier side as family-friendly, Atlantic City is fighting for its image. So you can understand the frustration of local officials: They're trying to attract tourists, not homeless people.”
“The Haven was founded 25 years ago, provides transitional shelter for homeless families and is home to one of the few pantries in our area. Its mission is to provide shelter, support and care for those in crisis. The pantry currently assists approximately 1,600 persons each month. Part of the crisis is the children of the families who will not have the needed tools to learn this September when school reopens.”
“Vantage Health System has recently been awarded a grant in the amount of $2,147,818 from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grant, named "Opening Doors," is a two-year grant which will allow Vantage to stabilize the living situation of 50 homeless families with school aged children in Bergen County.”
“[F]amilies account for a growing percentage of the homeless these days. And among households headed by individuals with physical, emotional or developmental disabilities, finding or holding on to a job or other financial support system necessary to keep a family in permanent housing is no easy task. Especially in this economic climate. Vicki Sidrow, CEO of the Vantage Health System in Dumont, hopes the $2.1 million grant her non-profit agency just received from the federal government will go a long way toward addressing that issue in Bergen County.”
“‘Our concern is low-income families have been hit very hard by the recession, and the job opportunities may not be there for them,’ said Ceil Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey. It is estimated that one in three children in the state lives below the poverty line, defined as an annual income of $44,000 for a family of four, she said.”
“In its first in-depth look at the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, the group's Poverty Research Institute found: New Jersey's top 20 percent saw their average income rise by 22 percent from 2000 to 2009; Those earning less than $34,300 -- about 3 million people -- took home even smaller average paychecks by decade's end.”
“RPM Development has been awarded the affordable housing funding it needed to proceed with the highly anticipated redevelopment of the historic and decaying G.G. Green Building. The project was one of two affordable housing projects in Gloucester County to receive a portion of the $18.7 million in funds from Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits.”
“Our redevelopment efforts have been a success. But the prosperity apparent in some of our neighborhoods is not shared by all. More than one out of six, 17.5 percent, of Jersey City residents live below the federal poverty level, significantly higher than the statewide poverty rate of 9.1 percent. Among those in poverty may be service workers in the very buildings that have benefited from our redevelopment efforts.”
“HOPES CAP in Hoboken received $20,000 for its HOPES on the Road program, which introduces residents of low-income neighborhoods to services that include one-on-one counseling, weekly health education events, lunch-and-learn workshops, translation services, and transportation to health care facilities.”
“Demand has reached all time highs — each organization is serving upward of 5,000 families a month, all of whom must show they’re eligible for public assistance in order to qualify for food packages. That reflects historic highs in the poverty rates both in urban centers like Paterson and North Jersey’s wealthier suburbs.”
“An increasing number of poor people in Hudson County and across the state are finding themselves without legal assistance in civil cases, according to a recent report.”
"The last time I visited this homeless community of tent dwellers was in February when experts were predicting that the US was creating so many jobs that the economy would not even be a major issue in the presidential election."
"Gov. Christie signed a $31.7 billion budget bill Friday for the coming fiscal year, but not before he cut $361 million in Democratic-backed initiatives, including measures that would have provided more money for legal services to the poor, aid for low-income students aiming for college, and a tax credit for low-wage earners."
"When her jobless benefits run out for good at the end of this month, she’ll lose nearly two-thirds of her income. That will pretty much land her at the official federal poverty level of $11,170 for a single person — an amount that experts agree greatly underestimates the cost of living in a place like North Jersey."
"A total of 1,936 homeless people were found in Ventura County during a one-day count in January, according to a report released Thursday."
"A six-month pilot program to help local homeless men and women get back to work has been so successful that the city of Boulder has decided to contract with the program, guaranteeing more work for program participants through the end of the year and, likely, through 2013."
“An alarming new study shows more New Jersey residents than ever are struggling to provide for their families. A record 885,000 people in the state lived below the poverty line in 2010, according to the study released Sunday by the Legal Services of New Jersey Poverty Research Institute.”
"While some might misinterpret the word counseling as hand-holding for people who ought to help themselves, foreclosure prevention is a rigorous process that requires clients to get their financial affairs in order before it’s too late. The goal is to meet, not evade, responsibilities, and to prevent homelessness and the ripple effects of vacant houses."
"More New Jersey residents lived in poverty in 2010 than ever before, according to a report released Sunday."
"The agency did not release the language of the proposal, but said it would cap the cost of projects eligible for the credit, and limit construction of affordable housing in high poverty areas. It would also reward developers for building houses or apartments for families who are now homeless. "
"At the center of a proposal to get homeless people off the streets and into treatment, better jobs and a place of their own, there was a building. It was called the Gateway, and in spring 2009, a coalition of social service providers, advocates and community volunteers presented its vision for what would be inside."
"A clinic that serves South Jersey's homeless population is to receive $4.7 million in federal funds. Project H.O.P.E. will use the money to replace its community health center in the 400 block of Clinton Street with a larger building, the nonprofit said."
"Cummings has had a passion for helping the homeless veterans population for years. In fact, she wrote a graduate paper on homeless veterans during college at Siena Heights. She graduated in 2008 with a master's degree in organizational leadership."
"Infestations of lice, the tiny, wingless parasites that cling to hair and make scalps itch, are a common malady that besets homeless indigents who frequent train stations. But the April 15 cleanup was unusual, insisted the station's cleaning contractor."
"Nearly one in three children in New Jersey lived in low-income households in 2010 that increasingly depended upon food stamps and school meal programs to get by, according to the latest report card on child health, wealth and well-being. "
"Gov. Chris Christie yesterday visited HomeFront homeless shelter in Ewing to announce the creation of a council that will develop a 10-year plan aimed at ending homelessness."
"Two-thirds of Rutgers students rely on subsidized federal loans to attend college. One-third - 16,000 students - rely on Pell Grants designed to help low-income students. 'Congress is facing a lot of tough choices in the economy, but we want to at least maintain the current level of federal support,' said Rutgers student Emi Morse of Sea Bright."
"Study after study has shown that children raised by single mothers face increased risks of emotional, behavioral, academic and social problems. And while there is less data, a study last year showed the children of cohabiting parents are at risk for a broad range of problems, from trouble in school to psychological stress, physical abuse and poverty."
"'He was just crashing for a couple of days,' McMichael said. 'What I couldn't understand was how they know who is on my lease.' More than 35 years ago the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Mount Laurel case that suburbs couldn't use zoning laws to keep out minority or low-income people. "
"Anyone who wants to weigh in on how a homeless shelter should be operated in Bonita Springs will have the opportunity at public workshops that will be scheduled soon. Bonita's Local Planning Agency asked city staff Thursday to bring back a framework for a homeless shelter ordinance and schedule workshops. Opponents and supporters of the shelter again sparred over the issue at the meeting."
"The state Department of Education put New Jersey’s most troubled schools on notice Wednesday, ordering administrators and educators to cooperate with state intervention and improve student performance or face serious consequences."
"State Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher rolled his sleeves up to his elbows as he prepared to serve Southern fried chicken, corn and mashed potatoes to the city's homeless at the Southern Regional Food Distribution Center."
"Bonita resident Konrad Schultz, who founded Concerned Citizens of Bonita a year ago when St. Matthew's was considering another site, has researched the homeless shelter ordinances of other cities, finding ones that have one bed per 1,000 residents."
"It was less than 15 years ago that Wright, the CEO and founder of The Center for Great Expectations in the Somerset section of Franklin, spearheaded the state's only program that provides an unprecedented haven of healing to homeless, pregnant adolescents and their children, as well as homeless, pregnant adult women with substance-use disorder, and their children."
"A report released last week by Auburn University shows that the high poverty levels and low educational attainment among women have a direct correlation to the region's high number of teen births."
"The governor's plan to give $25 million to Legal Services, which offers free counsel to the more than two million state residents with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, was a "critical first step," Poritz said."
"Those who work with the indigent say many desperate enough to apply for general assistance struggle with extreme poverty, mental disorders, addiction, criminal histories, and lack of transportation, which complicate their ability to meet the requirement. If they mess up, they have to begin again, which delays the chance of receiving aid by at least a month."
"The retired ironworker, who turns 83 on Friday, has no permanent home. He sleeps in a smoke-drenched motel room in an industrial South Hackensack neighborhood that's often a last stop for people like him -- Bergen County's invisible homeless."
"Economists have analyzed the minimum wage and its effect on employment more often than almost any other topic. And the result of all this study is clear: Raising the minimum wage hurts the very people—low-skilled workers—that champions of the raise intend to help, because it prices many such workers out of jobs."
"Southern New Jersey towns with the highest unemployment and poverty in the state will also be among the hardest hit by school-funding reforms proposed by the state Department of Education and Gov. Chris Christie."
"'More than 12 million children - one out of every six - live in poverty in the United States alone,' said the Rev. Jeremy Montgomery, executive director of Plainfield Habitat. 'This Women Build, our very first one, is literally putting the tools into women's hands that enable us to move families out of poverty one house at a time.'"
"A New Jersey lawmaker who once served as the state's acting governor has gone undercover to research conditions at a Newark homeless shelter. State Sen. Richard Codey, who has worked for years to improve conditions at shelters, boarding homes and mental health facilities across the state, recently spent the night at the Goodwill Mission in Newark"
"Citing high levels of fraud and abuse in the school lunch program, Gov. Chris Christie yesterday launched a task force to examine how school aid is distributed in New Jersey."
"The Jersey City Housing Authority has been granted nearly $1 million in federal funds to construct a new Head Start facility, the state's two U.S. senators announced Thursday. The city agency will use the funds to expand an existing community center at the Marion Gardens public-housing complex to accommodate Head Start, a federally funded early-education program for low-income families."
"After hearing tales of hardship from low-wage workers and struggling businesses Thursday, a panel of New Jersey lawmakers decided it was time to give a boost to those who earn the minimum wage.
The Assembly Labor Committee voted, 6-2, to approve a bill that would raise the minimum hourly wage to $8.50, a $1.25 increase that would give New Jersey one of the highest rates in the nation. The bill would peg the wage to inflation, allowing future increases to occur automatically. "
"Under a new school funding formula adopted in 2008 under Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, districts received more money if they had low-income or disabled students, or students with limited English speaking abilities, for example."
"Hope Through Housing Foundation, a nonprofit that provides low-income children after school programs, hosted two vision clinics at its program site in Montclair.
At the vision clinics 59 children from low-income families were given a compete eye health and vision screening by Dr. Kristy Remick and optometry students from Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry in Pomona."
"Cooper transferred the deeds on eight historic but dilapidated brick row houses to the St. Joseph's Carpenter's Society, a 20-year-old nonprofit that rehabilitates houses to sell to low-income residents. St. Joseph's and three other affordable-housing developers have built or rehabbed another 52 row houses in what is known as the Cooper Lanning section just south of the hospital."
While many educators and many governors celebrated, congressional Republicans accused Obama of executive overreach, and education and civil-rights groups questioned if schools would be getting a pass on aggressively helping poor and minority children -- the kids the 2002 law was primarily designed to help."
"The shelter I was assigned to, run by the Downtown Emergency Services Center, sleeps 200; men and women have separate dorms. The beds are barracks-style, with a top and bottom bunk. Seventy to 80 percent of the clients there suffer from some form of mental illness."
"A number of Hudson County housing projects have received a total of $3.3 million in grants from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, with $1 million alone going to help convert a vacant Jersey City building into 67 units of housing for low-income seniors."
"Redd adopted the plan because she feels surrounding towns and counties are dumping their problems on the city. Adding more homeless and social service agencies are contributing to the daunting task of rehabilitating the city, Redd believes. Her plan to impose limits has begun."
"The money can be used for buying and remodeling low-income housing, housing programs' operation and maintenance, rental assistance vouchers and emergency shelter, said Ed Thornbrugh, bicounty Department of Human Services administrator."
"That so-called achievement gap between more-affluent students and their low-income and minority counterparts is at the heart of state efforts to improve academic performance, acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said Wednesday."
"The administration wants all homeless vets - there were about 67,000 on any given night in 2011 - to get mental-health treatment and move into permanent housing. In what the administration calls an unprecedented effort, the Housing, Veterans Affairs and Labor departments and a network of federally funded community service agencies have been working together since 2010 with a focus rarely seen in the past, advocates say."
“The annual count is required by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and helps the federal and state governments determine how to allocate funding for housing, substance abuse and mental health programs, organizers of the count said.”
"The need is great in this region, which has a high proportion of elderly and low-income residents who can't afford to pay a tax preparer or who may risk missing refunds doing taxes themselves, said Linda Ranagan, site coordinator for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program through the United Way of Cumberland County"
"According to the New Jersey Education Law Center, low-income students make up 70 percent of students in the former Abbott districts, but only 27 percent of enrollment statewide. The state's 31 poorest districts -- the so-called Abbotts, which receive additional state aid as a result of a series of New Jersey Supreme Court rulings starting in 1985 -- also serve more than half of the state's black and Hispanic students."
"Mild temperatures and the promise of free breakfast, clothing and medical checkups may have helped bump up the numbers for this year's annual surveys to count the Shore area's homeless and potentially homeless population."
"Other CDBG funding, which is dispersed locally through the city's Community Development Office, is used to help create and sustain low-income and moderate-income housing, city officials said. Bayonne received $1.7 million in 2011, and now expects to receive $1.4 million this year."
"The Foundation for Child Development’s new report on state-level differences in the Index of Child Well-Being – a broad quality-of-life indicator based on 25 indicators – shows enormous variation, as does another set of indicators known as Kids Count, developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation."
"Uncle Sam is sending New Jersey nearly $136.8 million to help low-income residents keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The administration of President Barack Obama said last week it is releasing $34.2 million under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for New Jersey now that Obama has signed a delayed spending bill into law."
"Mike Wood, who has spent the last seven years of his life out of doors, showed no interest in traveling away from his encampment off Route 9 in Howell so he can be counted as a homeless man."
"The dozen homeless men made their way through the city's downtown to their camp -- a cold, dark mass of blankets, tarps and trash under a Route 80 overpass. But among them this time was the Rev. Thomas Keinath, pastor of the Calvary Temple International Assembly in Wayne. He was there to learn about the homeless individuals who live in the city -- to know their hardships, to build trust and to improve his church's aid efforts."
"Social service workers led by the Mental Health Association of Morris County will scour soup kitchens, abandoned buildings, wooded areas, bridges, and locations where the homeless shelter on Wednesday as part of a effort to survey the homeless and provide food, clothes and services."
"But to the horror of radical free-market ideologues, the myth of no-fault capitalism is under scrutiny. No one is arguing against markets, which are indeed the best way to create wealth and thus the best weapon against poverty."
"It's like hiring the fox to guard the henhouse," said David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center in Newark, which litigates on behalf of low-income schoolchildren. "What [New Jersey] seems to be doing is bringing foundations and other organizations that support their particular education reform agenda. I've never seen anything like this before."
"In reaction to temperatures plunging into the mid-teens, Hudson County Office of Emergency Management yesterday declared a cold weather emergency and opened a shelter in Union City to take in homeless people who couldn't get into the county's two main shelters."
"But to some in the Fairview community, where the church is located at 2755 Tuckahoe Road, the decision to care for the homeless in a residential neighborhood without a large homeless problem, no social services and limited public transportation, is creating - not fixing - a problem."
"As a result, we saw a dramatic spike in the number of homeless men, women and families. Today, we are emerging from a more severe recession and, once again, local governments face hard fiscal times."
"Deborah Howlett, president of New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal think tank, said raising the minimum wage would help thousands of low-wage workers and boost the state's sluggish economy."
"Since November, about three dozen homeless men and women have been living in a largely self-governed tent village on Las Cruces municipal property. The circle of tents with some sitting on wooden pallets is on a quarter-acre city lot next to a cluster of social service agencies that provide services to homeless people and others in need."
"The alternative is if you can actually break up concentrated poverty and have kids more integrated and better mixed across settings, you can reduce the costs of getting to the same outcomes. But typically what you find in the political dynamic is that people are much more willing to pay the price of extreme segregation than to actually move forward on desegregation."
"Urban youths from troubled, broken families with poor nutrition and little if any parental support walk through school doors every day at a distinct disadvantage compared to most suburban students."
"The grants will aid nonprofit and local government agencies operating emergency homeless shelters and transitional housing facilities while assisting approximately 3,000 New Jersey households over the next year."
"Some officials question the validity of the graduation rate, though few people dispute the school district is wrestling with some serious issues. Problems plaguing Lakewood's schools were highlighted in a needs assessment study completed by state education officials in 2008."
"New Jersey applied for $60 million through the U.S. Education Department's Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge. The state planned to use Consumer Reports-style ratings of early-childhood centers to increase family access to information, enhance teaching and strengthen programs for 75,000 low-income children."
"New Jersey's Hunterdon County, the hilly region of horse farms and weekend retreats where last year's median household income was almost $100,000, is a surprising new face of federal food aid."
"The newest U.S. Census Bureau numbers looking at poverty in school districts in 2010 show an increase in some districts and a decreased or homogenous rate in others since 2009."
"The cuts will total about $1 trillion between 2013 and 2021, combined with $169 billion in lower borrowing costs. Half the cuts will come from defense programs and half will come from nondefense programs."
"Along with other suburban communities throughout the United States, Bergen County, New Jersey is scrambling to address a dramatic increase in poor and homeless families, according to “New Jersey Faces New Poverty: Rising Family Homelessness in Bergen County,” a report (attached) released by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessnes"
"On Tuesday night, about 200 people gathered in Lakewood town square after they walked with lanterns for a mile from Tent City to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless and call on officials once again to provide them a shelter in Ocean County."
"Poverty and food insecurity - which is what workers in the hunger field call households that don't know where their next meal is coming from or if there will be a meal - is well documented in Camden, one of the nation's poorest cities. More than 40 percent of Camden children are obese, at least eight percent above the national average."
"Newark has long been on the unhappy end of many socioeconomic indexes, particularly those concerning youth. Thirty-five percent of its children live below the poverty line, more than three times the state average; 18 percent of them live in families where neither parent has a job; 71 percent are on Medicaid or the state equivalent (15 percent have no health coverage at all)."
"A program that at one time kept as many as 15,000 mostly low-income children busy after school has fallen victim to state budget cuts and the bad economy."
"The funding became available through the DCA Division of Housing and Community Resources' administration of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), a federal antipoverty block grant. The amount provided to each county depends on its poverty-level designation."
"Feed the Children also sponsors a program in which backpacks are filled with children's books, school supplies, food and other personal-care necessities, then distributed to homeless children throughout the country."
"Shock headlines greeted the release of new federal government statistics on poverty, fueling a vitriolic debate about wealth and poverty in America. Ancient rhetoric is resurrected every election cycle to confuse the issue and further divide the populace."
"We must continue the fight alongside Gov. Christie to secure additional reforms to foolish Civil Service laws and low-income housing quotas that will help lower our unsustainable property tax burden in the future"
"Seventeen of the units were set aside for public-housing tenants and applicants, and 43 are low-income-housing tax credit units. 'I'm very happy here. I was living with my son before and that was fine, but this is my own space,' said Florine Magee, a resident in the senior-citizen building..."
"New Jersey's plan aims to improve programs for 75,000 low-income children who live outside the 31 cities, once known as Abbott districts, which have been under court order to provide free preschool to 3- and 4-year-olds."
"By next June there likely will be 220 staff attorneys available to give free help to qualifying low-income New Jerseyans with civil cases, which include tenancy disputes, family and debt issues, and benefits such as disability."
"The couple runs a charity called ,b>ChangeALife Uganda. Since its founding in 2007, it has grown from a trickle of aid to a handful of needy children in that impoverished East African nation to a multifaceted nongovernmental organization that raised $238,000 last year."
"In return for a substantial hike in funds to help schools serve low-income students, states must measure how all their schools are doing, based on the state's education standards."
"The state's poverty rate rose from 9.4 percent to 10.3 percent in 2010, the census also showed. Although that's still lower than the national rate of 15.1 percent, it means that 880,000 people lived in poverty last year in the nation's second-wealthiest state."
"The U.S. Census Bureau released figures Thursday that mirrored the national economic picture revealed last week: falling median incomes and rising poverty that economists say are tied to the poor job market."
"The first, headlined 'Some choose to remain in Tent City,' reported that many of the homeless people who live in the woods off Cedar Bridge Avenue in Lakewood would prefer to stay by their tents during the hurricane rather than take the chance of losing what little they had."
"Neptune Township Mayor Kevin McMillan said the recent hurricane evacuations brought home the vulnerability of those who are homeless and hungry. Both McMillan and state Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher read official proclamations declaring September Hunger Action Month."
"Poor people drink more than the affluent. Low-income adults got about 9 percent of their daily calories from sugary beverages; for high-income adults it was just over 4 percent.
Blacks get more of their calories from sweetened beverages than other racial and ethnic groups."
"Mount Olive required parents to pay $200 per student and had signed up two out of every three eligible students, including some from low-income families whose fees were covered by the district, when classes resumed in 2010. Parsippany also cut courtesy busing for elementary school students in 2010."
"They are mostly low-income pockets of big cities, sprawling suburbs and small towns that lack easy access to a supermarket but are usually brimming with expensive convenience stores and fast food restaurants."