Housing in Paterson should be safe, well built, and healthy | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Housing in Paterson should be safe, well built, and healthy

By To the Editor
Published: April 21, 2018


Housing is a human right. Everyone deserves access to safe, quality and healthy homes regardless of race, creed, income or zip code.

Housing in Paterson should be safe, well built, and healthy. And it should be affordable, which is generally defined as costing no more than 30 percent of a household’s income. Paterson homeowners have the second highest housing cost burden in New Jersey. Two thirds of city homeowners are spending 30-percent or more of their income on housing costs. According to a recent study from the nationwide “Make Room” campaign, 44% of renter households in Paterson are paying at least half of their income towards rent and utilities.

When housing costs far exceed a household’s income the unimaginable happens. Foreclosures. Evictions. Relocations. We see lives being disrupted and families being displaced. We are then left with a historically and resource rich town, that no one can afford to live in.

But it doesn’t have to remain like this.

As a candidate for Paterson City Council at Large, I collaborated with residents to develop a comprehensive policy platform for Fair and Affordable Housing. Our platform features specific policy proposals to ensure the accessibility, adequacy, affordability, and availability of quality housing to community residents.

  1. To protect homeowners from foreclosure and families from displacement, we will fund foreclosure-prevention counseling by nonprofits, using Community Development Block Grants or other resources.
  2. Strengthen rent regulations that protect Paterson tenants and families. Amend the Rent Level Board ordinance to reduce allowable annual rent increase.
  3. Revive the Tenant Advisory Board to hear complaints from tenants as to conditions in their units or at the property at which they reside.
  4. Creation of community land trusts which focus on the conversion of vacant properties into productive uses such as cooperative housing, semi-permanent housing for the homeless, urban gardens and pocket parks.
  5. Implement mandatory inclusionary zoning, requiring developers who build multi-family buildings to include a percentage of permanently affordable units.
  6. Protect efforts to provide affordable housing and supportive services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Every child deserves to live in a safe, healthy and quality home. As candidate for Paterson City Council at Large, I’m committed to protecting our residents and their families. We all deserve to live & work in communities where we can be safe & thrive in.

Vote 1B on May 8th and together let’s work to see true fair and affordable housing in Paterson.

Zellie Thomas,
Councilman at-large candidate

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