Housing Initiatives of Princeton works with local landlords to keep families housed

evgenyatamanenko

Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) has provided the key – figuratively and literally – to housing for many residents on the verge of becoming homeless.

HIP, a community non-profit comprising predominantly volunteers, has been working to help Princeton area residents avoid pandemic-related evictions, according to information provided by HIP.

Fueled by increased public and private funding, HIP has expanded its emergency rental assistance services and provided support for 189 adults and 192 children since last March when the pandemic struck, according to the statement.

In December 2020, Princeton Council passed a resolution, authorizing an agreement with HIP to administer the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds the town received from the federal government to promote housing stability. This $319,000 is being used to help low-income workers, whose incomes were negatively affected by the pandemic, stay in their homes without the worry about being evicted when the eviction moratorium is lifted, according to the statement.

As of March 3, HIP has used CDBG funds to assist more than 40 households, consisting of 88 adults and 64 children.

More than 90% of local landlords agreed to a 20-25% discount on the monthly rent, according to the statement. This enables HIP to stretch the CDBG funds and help more Princeton families.

In addition to entering into the contract with the municipality to distribute the CDBG funds, HIP raised money from the Princeton Area Community Foundation (PACF), the NJ Pandemic Relief Fund whose founding chair is New Jersey’s First Lady Tammy Murphy, and other individuals and organizations, in order to provide pandemic rental assistance to people beyond Princeton in the Central Jersey region, according to the statement.

“The pandemic has had a devastating effect both economically and in health outcomes on our most vulnerable neighbors,” Carol Golden, chair of HIP, said in the statement. “We are grateful for the opportunity to provide these much-needed funds so that people can stay in their homes. But I would like to emphasize that many people in our area still struggle to make ends meet even if they have not been directly impacted by COVID, and HIP raised funds and is distributing rental assistance to these families as well.”