JERSEY CITY, NJ - The New Jersey Reentry Corporation (NJRC) is partnering with The Waterfront Project (WFP) to provide free legal services to low income families facing eviction.
NJRC has 13,613 program participants of which 92% are classified as federally low-income. The partnership will enable NJRC participants to access the free legal representation of WFP to challenge evictions and provide for rental housing counseling.
Senator Troy Singleton, who has championed second-chance laws in the areas of housing and employment, said, "I want to applaud the New Jersey Reentry Corporation for partnering with the Waterfront Project to provide free housing counseling and legal services. This will ensure that the protections offered by our Fair Chance in Housing Act will be safeguarded as persons re-entering society rebuild their lives."
“The Waterfront Project provides boots on the ground, which will enable program participants' housing needs to be thoughtfully evaluated and advocated when appropriate,” former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, the chairman of the NJRC said, adding that court involved persons seeking to get their life back on track often have difficulty finding housing. ”I am most grateful for the Project’s advocacy of our participants, who have been so often discriminated against prior to Senator Troy Singleton’s legislation.”
The Fair Chance in Housing Act provides certain housing rights for people with criminal records. The bill was sponsored by Senate Community and Urban Affairs Chair Senator Troy Singleton, McGreevey said.
The legislation restricts a landlord from requiring an applicant to complete any housing application that includes inquiries on the applicant’s criminal record prior to giving a conditional offer.
Located on Bergen Avenue in Jersey City, The Waterfront Project first started on the waterfront in Hoboken serving as a legal refuge for people who need help in dealing with landlord-tenant conflicts, issues of wills, and other civil legal matters facing working poor, seniors, veterans, and people living with disabilities. The not-for–profit recently expanded its services to include housing counseling open to anyone in need and include eviction prevention, foreclosure issues, establishing of wills for people with moderate income, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities.
This is civil legal help, not criminal, she said. But the service can help someone seeking to expunge their records.
WFP Executive Director Rebecca Symes stated, “Our HUD-certified housing counselors will help persons re-entering society achieve housing stability, starting with fighting discrimination that is prohibited by the Fair Chance in Housing Act. And, if necessary, our attorneys can provide eviction defense to ensure that this community does not experience further displacement.”
Monsignor Robert Meyer, Founder of the Waterfront Project stated, “The vocation of the Waterfront projects is to assist persons in crisis. Frequently, good people and families need legal assistance to have healthy positive solutions to their housing needs. It is often necessary that families have access to legal support, which will ensure their ability to live in safe housing within their communities.”