APN News

APN announcements and press releases are below. Members of the press can reach APN Executive Director at renee@antipovertynetwork.org.
  • 24 Mar 2016 9:38 AM | Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (Administrator)

    At this week's budget hearing, APN Executive Director Serena Rice spoke about the "unprecedented crisis in housing" facing New Jersey's most vulnerable residents. Gov. Christie’s budget doesn’t fund the state’s Emergency Assistance program as much as it has in prior years, and new time limits have been established for recipients:


    “The reality is, the need doesn’t go away just because you stop helping,” Rice said.


    Read Rice's full testimony here and check out news coverage of her testimony here


    This week, NJ Spotlight also covered the Emergency Assistance crisis:


    "This crisis involves a dramatic restriction of the aid we are providing to some of our most vulnerable neighbors – those who are either temporarily or permanently unable to support themselves through work," said Serena Rice. "Specifically, this restriction applies to the loss of access to housing through the Emergency Assistance program – a loss that is making people homeless, forcing them into unstable and unsustainable situations, and in a few cases contributing to their deaths."




  • 16 Mar 2016 9:48 AM | Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (Administrator)

    On Monday March 14 at 1:00 pm Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle honored anti-poverty advocates Joyce Campbell, Serena Rice, and Diane Riley on the Assembly floor for their work to combat poverty in New Jersey and enact poverty solutions. 


    “Whether it’s ensuring that people have the opportunity to earn a living wage, or that children are not going to bed hungry at night or that seniors are able to afford to heat their homes in the winter, we need to take a comprehensive approach to lift people out of poverty in New Jersey,"  said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle. "These honorees live and breathe this challenge each and every day and have made a marked difference in the lives of families throughout New Jersey.  For that, they deserve to be honored during this year’s Women’s History Month."


    “This recognition is an incredible honor and I am grateful to have worked with such tireless advocates and to have been inspired by those who struggle to make ends meet," said Campbell, the Associate Executive Director for External Affairs for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton, as well as the Vice-President of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey's Board. "There is no doubt that I have received much more than I have given. And, we won’t give up until poverty is a word of the past.”


    On the same day as the three leaders were honored on the Assembly floor, Assemblymembers voted on several pieces of legislation that support poverty solutions, such as increasing the assistance levels for WorkFirst New Jersey recipients, pay equity for women, 1000 new rental vouchers, time limit exemptions for certain people on Emergency Assistance, expansion of EITC, and funding for lead poisoning prevention. 


    "This legislature has taken up the challenge to make the eradication of poverty in New Jersey a top priority, and I am so privileged to play a part in that effort," said Rice, Executive Director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey. "I deeply appreciate that this honor lifts up not just our work, but the goal we are working toward."


    One of those goals says Riley, the Director of Advocacy of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and secretary of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey's Board, is to eliminate hunger in New Jersey. She hopes that today's recognition will help shine a brighter light on the many New Jerseyans who experience food insecurity. 


    "I'm deeply honored and humbled to be recognized along with my fellow advocates," said Riley. "Hunger is a symptom of poverty. The Community FoodBank of New Jersey joins with me in gratitude knowing this will reinforce our important mission to fight hunger and poverty."


  • 01 Mar 2016 1:35 PM | Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (Administrator)

    Since Serena Rice became Executive Director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey in 2014, she has transformed both the organization and the political landscape of our state. Her leadership has helped to make poverty - and how to end it - a top priority for our communities and leaders.  And so it is with great sadness that we share with you that Serena will be leaving APN in May to answer a
    life-long call to the ministry. While we will dearly miss her brilliance, energy, and endless compassion we are excited for her as she begins a journey that she was first called to at the age of 13.

    We hope you will help us as we begin our search for a new Executive Director who can continue APN's work.  We would greatly appreciate it if you could share the job announcement (found here) and job description (found here) with your networks.

    Thank you.

    Jim Jacob, Board President

    Joyce Campbell, Board Vice-President

  • 25 Feb 2016 2:29 PM | Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (Administrator)

    On February 25, Senate and Assembly leadership, along with advocates from across New Jersey, including Serena Rice of APN, participated in a roundtable on their efforts to increase the minimum wage from $8.38 to $15 an hour. 


    More than 65 organizations - including New Jersey Working Families Alliance, APN, NJEA, and NAACP New Jersey State Conference - have signed on-to a letter (which can be found here) to Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Prieto explaining the importance of reaching a $15 minimum wage by January 2021, and raising the minimum wage of tipped workers. The letter reads:


    "The tipped wage is a key women’s economic justice issue. In New Jersey, 70.7% of tipped workers are women, most of them very low-­income and many supporting children. Raising the minimum wage for tipped workers is essential for reducing the gender wage gap."


    Want to learn more about this important issue?


    New Jersey Policy Perspective and the National Employment Law Project have put together informative fact-sheets on the need for a higher minimum wage:


    Fact Sheet

    Myth vs. Fact


  • 18 Feb 2016 2:43 PM | Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (Administrator)

    On February 16, Governor Christie gave his budget address. Here is a round-up of responses to his speech from some of our partners:


    New Jersey Policy Perspective:


    The governor is holding out his proposed fix on transportation, apparently, until he can secure big tax cuts for New Jersey’s wealthiest families. But trading a gas tax hike for the elimination of the estate tax has absolutely no resemblance to “tax fairness.” In fact, it’s just the opposite, because it increases a broad tax that most affects New Jersey’s low-income and middle-class families while doing away with a narrow tax that affects only 4 percent of New Jersey’s wealthiest estates. 


    Education Law Center: 


    Public school children across the Garden State again are the big losers in Governor Chris Christie’s proposed FY17 State Budget. For a seventh straight year, the Governor is proposing no real increase in state school aid. The Governor proposes to increase school aid by just 1% over last year. If the Governor’s budget is approved by the Legislature, total direct state school aid will be $9.1 billion, slightly more than the $8.8 billion total in 2009-10, when the Governor took office. This amount includes the $500 million restored to urban districts by the NJ Supreme Court order after the Governor cut over $1 billion statewide in 2010-11. 


    Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey: 


    Highlights of the governor's budget address are below, but prior to reviewing those highlights it is important to note that the FY'17 budget is proposed, and must proceed through the full legislative process before it becomes finalized.  
     
    Division of Developmental Disabilities - Proposed FY'17Budget
     
    In FY'17 community spending is proposed to increase by $79.2 million, broken down as follows: 
                
    * $10 million to fund community-based services for individuals currently on the Community Care Waiver Waiting List
    * $13.2 million to fund community-based residential placements for 165 individuals currently living in one of the Division's five developmental centers, consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead decision
    * $10 million to fund costs associated with the transition to a fee-for-service system
    * $5 million to fund 500 new housing vouchers
    * $41 million to fund general Division growth (e.g., young adults turning 21 and aging out of special education services, emergencies, self-direction, annualized cost from prior year placements, etc.)
     
    This administration is re-defining the way in which New Jersey supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through investment. Over the coming weeks and months, I encourage you to follow the budget proceedings and stay informed about the progress being made toward a finalized FY'17 State budget.


    Advocates for Children of New Jersey:


    The Governor recommended increasing state aid to schools by $94.3 million to $9.1 billion. School aid represents more than 27 percent of the $34.1 billion proposed budget. All school districts will receive an increase in funding.


    While recent budget proposals included funding for districts with existing preschool programs, the FY 2017 does not. Preschool funding remains at the FY 2016 level of $655.5 million.

    New Jersey school districts continue to receive additional federal funding to feed breakfast to hungry students.  This is the result of schools serving more children that all-important morning meal. ACNJ has led the NJ Food for Thought School Breakfast Campaign, which has succeeded in convincing more districts to serve breakfast during the first few minutes of the school day, rather than before school when students have not yet arrived.

    The proposed budget continues the expansion of Medicaid for certain parents/caretakers and single adults without children, ages 19 to 64 under NJ FamilyCare. Since the expansion took effect on January 1, 2014, 434,000 low-income residents have gained health insurance through NJ FamilyCare, a 34 percent increase in program enrollment (including Medicaid enrollment). The FY 2017 recommendation also includes an additional $45 million in state and federal funds to annualize the increased reimbursement rates for certain primary and specialty care services offered through NJ FamilyCare that began in January 2016.

    The governor’s budget continues the FY 2016 increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit from 20 to 30 percent of the federal credit.

  • 29 Jan 2016 1:06 PM | Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (Administrator)

    APN is grateful to Senate President Sweeney and his staff for crafting legislation that, as the bill states, "is intended to provide emergency assistance to the most needy in our State for so long as these individuals require such assistance." On January 28, APN stood with Senate President Sweeney; Steve Leder, Senior Attorney from the Community Health Law Project; and Staci Berger, President and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, as Sweeney announced his proposed legislation.


    Below is a media round-up on the press conference: 


    AP - Sweeney Seeks to Extend Housing Subsidies 

    NJTV - Senate President: Some Are Homeless Because of Dept. of Human Services Decision

    NJ.com - Sweeney: N.J. should help 3K homeless after 'disappointing' aid cuts

    NorthJersey.com - N.J. Senate President Sweeney: Make temporary housing help permanent

    WBGO - Sweeney Proposes Homelessness Prevention Plan



  • 29 Jan 2016 12:35 PM | Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (Administrator)
    On January 27, anti-poverty advocates from around the state testified before the Assembly Human Services, Housing and Community Development, and Women and Children committees. Each committee had the same task: to listen to testimony about poverty in our state. Anti-poverty advocates, pediatricians, researchers, and direct service providers explained the problem of poverty, how it manifests itself, and offered evidence-based solutions -- from increasing the number of housing vouchers to expanding high quality pre-school to raising the minimum wage to strengthening worker protections.


    Below is a round-up of media coverage on the hearings:
    Please visit this link to read testimony from advocates from Catholic Charities, the United Way, New Jersey Policy Perspective, Working Families, and several other inspiring organizations. If you would like to add your testimony to the website,
    please email it to elizabeth@antipovertynetwork.org.


  • 21 Jan 2016 2:03 PM | Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (Administrator)

    Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has announced that Assembly committees will meet in special hearings on Wednesday, January 27, to listen to testimony on poverty and how to rebuild the middle-class as part of a new initiative to address poverty in New Jersey.


    Serena Rice, executive director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, told New Jersey Spotlight that APN is “thrilled" with Speaker Prieto's announcement. 


    “Poverty is a comprehensive problem, and it requires comprehensive solutions,” Rice said.


    The following committees will meet on January 27:

    • Human Services will focus on existing and needed services necessary to help residents overcome poverty.

    • Housing and Community Development will focus on the housing problems and needs of families living in poverty.

    • Transportation will focus on New Jersey’s transportation network and how it could be used to help those in poverty and how it acts as a barrier for those in poverty.

    • Women and Children will focus on employment issues such as job training availability, pay equity and employment barriers, particularly for female heads of household and issues that impact children living in poverty.


    Speaker Prieto was the 2015 Poverty Summit’s keynote speaker and listened to the panel of experience experts - New Jerseyans who struggle with homelessness, unemployment, and food insecurity. APN is excited to see him now declaring poverty to be a central priority for the new legislative session and, along with advocates from across the state, will be offering testimony on January 27.



  • 13 Jan 2016 11:35 AM | Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (Administrator)

    When low-income working New Jerseyans file their taxes this year, they will be seeing a 50% increase in their state Earned Income Tax Credit benefit (to 30% of the federal EITC). But families will only see the benefit if they file a tax return and apply.


    The EITC is a benefit for working people with low to moderate incomes. To qualify, you must meet certain income and household requirements. You must also file a tax return, even if you are not required to do so for income reasons. Many low-income families earn so little that they owe no taxes, so they may not file a return. They may not know that EITC not only reduces the amount of tax you owe, it also gives you a refund.


    The EITC has long been a top priority of the advocacy network. In June of last year, the Anti-Poverty Network, along with Senate President Sweeney and Senator Turner, convened a roundtable discussion with low-wage workers to highlight the importance of the EITC. In addition to helping working families, the increase to the EITC can also help New Jersey’s struggling economy, according to an analysis by New Jersey Policy Perspective.


    Getting Help to Claim the EITC:


    The IRS provides helpful tools to learn more about the benefits and how to apply. To learn if you qualify for the EITC and how to claim this benefit click here.


    The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free tax help for low- and moderate-income tax filers. Click here to find a site near you.



  • 10 Dec 2015 6:34 AM | Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (Administrator)
    More than thirty organizations from across New Jersey have signed a letter to Senate president Steve Sweeney and Senate sponsors of S2951 to voice their opposition to S2951, a bill which would dramatically expand the powers of landlords to evict tenants. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee on December 10 at 11:00 AM. The bill has already passed in the Assembly.

    Several opponents, including the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, New Jersey Citizen Action, the New Jersey Tenants Organization, and the ACLU of New Jersey, will be testifying in opposition. Organizational signatories include the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, SEIU 32BJ, the Latino Action Network and the New Jersey Working Families Alliance.

    “This legislation poses a very serious threat to the civil rights of low and middle income New Jerseyans  who may already be subject to harassment by landlords seeking to evict tenants in order to raise rents,” said Ari Rosmarin, Public Policy Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. “At a time when our state has made important progress in moving away from devastating collateral consequences from our broken and bloated criminal justice system, this bill sends us decidedly backwards.”

    S2951, if enacted, would permit landlords to move in Superior Court to evict tenants if the landlord proves that the tenant, an occupant, or a guest conducted “criminal activity” on the premises. S2951 includes a list of behavior under the definition of criminal activity that includes drug use and possession, and the vague “criminal nuisance.” S2951 does not require an individual to be convicted of - or even arrested for - a crime to be subject to eviction proceedings. The bill also permits eviction of a tenant family for non-criminal “dangerous” behavior by a tenant, occupant, or guest whether or not the tenant is aware of the behavior and without giving a warning notice.

    "The incredibly broad scope of this legislation leaves too much room for unintended consequences,” said Serena Rice, Executive Director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey. “Housing is the cornerstone of economic and family stability, and we need to make sure that state policies don't leave innocent people vulnerable to the kind of destabilization that comes from eviction."

    This broad scope provides the option for an overzealous landlord to use this provision to move for eviction of a family where a member of the family suffers from addiction to drugs, or a woman when her boyfriend engages in domestic violence. The dramatic scope of activity covered works in opposition to New Jersey’s efforts to move away from treating addiction as a crime and subjects some of our most vulnerable community members to eviction when they need stable housing the most.

    "The bill is simply unfair and its enforcement is ripe for abuse,” said Ann Vardeman, Program Director at New Jersey Citizen Action. “Concerns about criminal activity in rental properties are no reason to dismantle tenants' basic rights.”

    According to Matt Shapiro, president of the New Jersey Tenants Organization, S2951 guts protections for renters.

    “This bill takes the most important tenants' rights law, the Eviction for Just Cause Law, and turns it on its head,” said Shapiro. “The eviction law was enacted in 1975 to prevent arbitrary evictions based on nothing more than the whim of the landlord.”


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