Addressing the rent crisis: a call to action for hudson county and beyond

By Carol M. Sainthilaire – Executive Director of The Waterfront Project, Inc.

As an employee of The Waterfront Project, Inc., I am deeply committed to the belief that housing is a fundamental human right. Our mission is to prevent homelessness through legal advocacy, housing counseling, and supportive services. Recent discussions, such as the one featured in the PBS NewsHour interview with Diane Yentel, CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, underscore the urgency of our work and the broader housing crisis facing our nation.

In the interview, Yentel highlights several key factors contributing to the persistent rise in rent prices since the pandemic. Disruptions in supply chains and labor markets have delayed new housing projects, while increased demand, partly driven by shifts to remote work, has exacerbated the shortage of affordable housing. Despite some economic recovery, rents remain significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels, creating profound financial stress for many Americans.

This national perspective mirrors the challenges we observe daily in Hudson County and throughout New Jersey. Here, the shortage of affordable housing is acute, and the pandemic’s economic impacts continue to reverberate. Many of our clients face eviction due to rent increases and the expiration of temporary rental assistance programs. These evictions not only threaten individual households but also strain our community’s social and economic fabric.

Preventing evictions is not just a moral imperative but also a cost-effective strategy. Research consistently shows that it is far less expensive to prevent an eviction than to support a household once they have entered the homeless system. Evictions can lead to job loss, educational disruptions for children, and long-term housing instability, compounding the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

At The Waterfront Project, we are dedicated to breaking this cycle. Our eviction prevention programs provide legal representation and housing counseling to those at risk, ensuring they have the support needed to remain in their homes. This approach not only preserves housing stability but also enhances community resilience.

The PBS NewsHour interview with Diane Yentel is a crucial resource for understanding the broader context of our work. I encourage everyone to listen to this insightful discussion to grasp the magnitude of the housing crisis and the urgent need for comprehensive solutions. The interview can be found here:

In Hudson County and across New Jersey, we must continue to advocate for policies that expand affordable housing, protect tenants’ rights, and provide robust eviction prevention programs. By doing so, we uphold the belief that housing is a human right and take meaningful steps toward ending homelessness in our communities.

Together, we can address the rent crisis and ensure that every individual and family have a safe, stable place to call home. Join us in this critical work, support your local housing initiatives, and advocate for the changes needed to make housing security a reality for all.