HEAT ALERT

Heat advisory continues in New Jersey as highs approach near 100 degrees

Affordable housing units open in East Orange, officials stress more units are needed

The East Orange Housing Authority says the city needs 200 to 300 more Section 8 housing units to meet the current need.

News 12 Staff

Aug 5, 2023, 12:28 AM

Updated 321 days ago

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Officials in East Orange recently opened new affordable housing in the city's Greenwood section. However, they say hundreds more Section 8 units are needed to meet the demand.
New neighbors started moving into the new affordable townhouses on Eaton Place on Friday. The area has been a priority for revitalization efforts in East Orange.
"Citizens can come by and see something's going on in the city. It's not just being stagnant," said Fred Shaw, board chairman of the East Orange Housing Authority.
Shaw has lived in East Orange all his life. He knows all too well the challenges neighbors face when it comes to finding affordable housing. He said rent in the city has gone up about 50% in the last 20 years.
"People lived here, grew up here, sold their houses, and now they can't get into affordable housing," Shaw added.
The city saw high demand right away for his complex. Within four hours of the application opening for six townhomes, 50 people had applied.
Wilbert Gill, executive director of the East Orange Housing Authority, said the city needs 200 to 300 more Section 8 housing units to meet the current need.
"There's plenty of market-rate development going on in the city, and so those rents a lot of times are outside the reach of the low to moderate income folks," Gill explained.
He said the city has some other projects in the works, but it is still not enough. Gill said it ultimately comes down to federal funding.
"The political arena needs to change, how they distribute monies to different areas," said Conchita Crawford, CEO of the nonprofit East Orange Community Development Corporation. She said she has seen a threefold increase in demand for help since the pandemic began. She emphasized that the need is as urgent as ever.
"Agencies like this are always looking for grants and funding just to survive," Crawford said.


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