Posts Tagged ‘APN NJ’

Vulnerable Groups Linked by Need for Affordable Housing

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Vulnerable Groups Linked by Need for Affordable Housing

The NJ Foundation for Aging (NJFA) recognizes that aging friendly and age sensitive issues are in reality ageless. In this spirit NJFA works with many partners including the Anti Poverty Network (APN).  This organization represents a wide array of groups and concerns. The intersection or cross tracking of concerns creates a dynamic profile impacting people of all ages. Across the board access to nutrition & health services, employment and affordable housing are essential quality of life ingredients.

Among the vulnerable populations whose lives are deeply impacted by these intersecting concerns are our state’s elders. A simple examination of income data makes this reality painfully clear. The NJ Foundation for Aging’s NJ Elder Index and Data Report indicates that 25 % of all seniors living in NJ rely on their Social Security benefit as their sole source of their annual income. The average annual cost of living for a single elder renting a one bedroom apartment reported in the index is slightly below $28,000 and the cost of living is even higher in Bergen and Passaic counties. This level is a significant challenge when we know the average Social Security for a woman in NJ is $14,848 (and this is the average meaning many women receive significantly less). More than 252,000 single elders and elder couples face the daily crisis of covering their basic expenses with inadequate income.

Public benefits can improve the quality of life for the elder receiving the average SS benefit of $14,848 (as their sole source of income) as well as those with even lower incomes. This elder would be eligible for SNAP, for congregate meal programs, for Farmers market coupons, for energy and utility assistance, for PAAD, and a low income subsidy for their Medicare premium. Even with all of these existing programs, however, they would still fall short in the ability to cover their basic costs.

Here is where the needs and the solutions collide. Affordable housing is the only benefit that helps this elder really narrow the gap between their costs and their income. As declared by the headline for a recent NJ Spotlight article, “Affordable housing remains out of reach for a majority of NJ Renters”. This is not new news, but the article cites data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual “Out of Reach” report. The NJ Foundation for Aging recognizes that affordable housing is needed for people of all ages so people do not age into poverty. Housing policy across NJ is sorely lacking and we need to offer a full portrait of those who would benefit from this important resource: children, low income families, adults, health care workers, seniors, and residents with special needs. Let’s make housing for all a priority.

Learn more, connect with others and get involved.

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Learn more, connect with others and get involved.

 Affordable housing, job availability, livable wages, food security these are all key pieces to living and aging well in NJ. A recent article in the Trenton Times highlights the struggle of the homeless in accessing services at three key organizations that provide shelter, food and many other services. In navigating this “triangle” as they call it (due to distance traveled between each organization) some of the homeless in Mercer County have hope of escaping the street and having a home, a job, food, their health.

 Certainly Mercer County is not alone in this problem, throughout the state there are many homeless who find themselves navigating their way through the services available in each area. In addition to the homeless there are those living on the edge of homelessness, they are unemployed, under-employed and living pay check to pay check wondering if this will be the week they end up on the street.

There are many supports available to the homeless and working families, like SNAP (food stamps), SRAP (State Rental Assistance), Family Care (Medicaid/Health insurance) and of course there are many non-profit, charitable organizations that are doing their part to help those in need through various programs and supports. But is it enough?

 There are ways to get involved, to learn more and to connect with other advocates. The Anti-Poverty Network of NJ, a group of like-minded organizations and individuals that meet to strategize on advocacy efforts is holding a summit, Poverty Summit: A Call to Invest in the People of New Jersey on Monday, May 21, 2012 from 9 am to 12:30 pm at the War Memorial in Trenton, NJ. At this summit you will hear statistics on poverty in NJ, you’ll hear from service providers as well as community members who have experienced poverty, but you’ll also here about advocacy efforts and opportunities for you to join in those efforts.

So, please join us to learn more, connect with advocates and get involved. For more details and to register go to http://apnpovertysummit.eventbrite.com/

 PS- You can follow this up by coming to NJFA’s Annual Conference on June 14, 2012 to discuss affordable housing and many other important topics for aging well in NJ! www.njfoundationforaging.org/events.html