EAST ORANGE, NJ – Candidate for Mayor in East Orange, Ted R. Green, has unveiled portions of his plan to address housing in East Orange; including foreclosures, rehabilitation, ownership, funding and jobs. Council President Green said, “My goal, if elected Mayor, is to provide opportunities for home ownership and to address other issues that are part of creating a comprehensive housing plan in East Orange.”
According to Green, there are a number of ways to improve the housing framework in East Orange; from rehabilitation to new construction to property maintenance and even community pride through programs; like the Clean and Green Program. He added that each of the city’s five wards, while having shared concerns about neighborhoods, housing, and vacant properties, have particular concerns based on the makeup of those communities that must be addressed through a strategic plan for housing.
Green indicated that the last Master Plan for East Orange, included a number of objective that hold true for today and are included in his strategic plan, including:
· Change the public image of East Orange through rehabilitation and development of new homes throughout the neighborhoods.
· Strengthen and recapture single-family neighborhoods
· Better promote the City’s housing initiatives, such as the homebuyers’ workshop and grants, etc.
· Use transportation and access to primary business centers including Newark and New York
· Consider municipal auctions to sell dilapidated apartments.
· Focus on new housing development for young professionals, seniors, and artists
· Anchor and preserve the character of single family neighborhoods.
Green also indicated that new ideas and concepts are being developed to address new housing needs. He said the benefits of revitalizing the housing market in East Orange accomplishes many important goals; including construction jobs. By training residents in construction and having developers commit to using the workforce to rehab the vacant homes, East Orange’s unemployment rate of 6.1 percent could drop.
In addition, he added that, by putting abandoned homes back on the city’s tax roll, the city will begin to accumulate revenue from property taxes. Another concept is for once abandoned homes are restored, even though the restored homes are earmarked for affordability, the surrounding property values still go up, crime will go down, and potentially hazardous conditions will cease to exist.
Green has developed a multi-point strategy to address housing; including:
1. Use homeownership opportunities to retain and increase the Area Median Income and net worth of current residents while attracting new residents.
2. Restore abandoned properties to productive use and place back on the tax role.
3. Work with the new Governor to be sworn in January 2018 and the NJ Economic Development Authority to provide tax credits to developers to incentivize investment in housing development and rehabilitation.
4. Replicate the "town center" models created around train stations like in Montclair, Bloomfield, South Orange, and Orange.
5. Work with the State to create programs through the NJ Housing Mortgage Finance Agency and other State agencies to obtain resources for existing homeowners for property facade updates, upkeep, and maintenance.
6. Meet with absentee landlords and develop an action plan for improvements for buildings under code or operating with substandard living conditions.
In closing, Green said, “It is essential that housing be a priority for the next administration. It is a way to identify jobs, rebuild neighborhoods, instill pride, have a positive impact on the economy of the city and create an overall better East Orange.”