UMC Participates in Senior Housing Now Rally

Thousands Urge Congress to Increase Affordable Housing Funding

The statistics formed a compelling reason for residents and associates of United Methodist Communities’ five senior housing campuses to join thousands of other advocates from around the country last week to attend the Senior Housing Now Rally on Capitol Hill.

After declining for six consecutive years, homelessness in New Jersey increased last year. According to U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development Homeless Assessment Report, the number of homeless people in New Jersey climbed to 9,398. Only five states had a larger increase than New Jersey in 2018. Nationally, New Jersey had the third largest increase in homeless people in families with children.

In partnership with LeadingAge New Jersey, they gathered in Washington, DC, on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol to let Congress know that Americans need more funding for affordable senior housing. They rallied around one simple goal: expand and preserve affordable housing for older adults.

After a long bus ride from New Jersey to Washington, DC, Myrna Thomas, a resident of United Methodist Communities at PineRidge of Montclair, stated, “No one should be homeless or wonder where they will live. Senior housing is important, especially to me and others in their 80s.”

The 2019 New Jersey housing profile published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows a shortage of 200,619 affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income renters, a probable consequence of the deep income inequality in New Jersey.

Keynote speakers included Senator Tim Kaine (Virginia), and Congresswomen, Katie Hill (California) and Donna Shalala (Florida). Guest presenters from the Volunteers of America, American Association of Service Coordinators, Presby’s Inspired Life, Lewinsville Retirement Residence, LeadingAge (national) and others inspired and motivated the rally participants.

Cindy Jacques, vice president of senior housing and community initiatives at United Methodist Communities, reflected, “HUD has not allocated funding for new housing since 2010. There’s never enough housing to meet the need.”