Tag Archive: special needs

Where Will All the Boys Go?

I’m pulling this up top again today to make sure as many people as possible see it. Are Gov. Christie’s brave new world reformers even aware of this kind of research? let alone conducting it themselves with the vast power they exercise over the Camden district and its kids? Do they even care? Promoted by Rosi, with thanks to Julia, and to her Rutgers colleague Stephen Danley, at whose excellent site, Local Knowledge Blog, Julia first published this today.

Imagine turning your public schools over to a private corporation that is unaccountable to your community; has no experience educating children like those attending your public schools; and forces most of the boys to leave before graduation?

That is exactly what the Christie Administration is doing in Camden.

The Administration is transferring control of public education to three out-of-state charter corporations – KIPP, Mastery and Uncommon Schools – that are completely unaccountable to the people of Camden.  The corporations will take hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars from existing Camden public and charter schools to build or renovate and operate 16 new renaissance charter schools.*

The three charter corporations are aggressively marketing themselves and their new facilities to Camden parents and could quickly account for 9,300 of the district’s almost 15,000 publicly-funded spots, leading to the closure of the majority of Camden’s public and charter schools.  

Future of Fair Housing in NJ at Stake in Wed. Court Argument

promoted by Rosi

On Wednesday at 10 am, the New Jersey Supreme Court will consider a request by Governor Christie and wealthy municipalities to allow towns to exclude low- and moderate-income families, seniors, and people with special needs, reversing four decades of court rulings. The argument is the most important fair housing case in New Jersey in 30 years.

You can watch the hearing live or afterwards here.

The argument is about upholding a practical and fair solution that’s good for communities, and good for business. A broad and unusual array of groups – ranging from Fair Share Housing Center to the NAACP and Latino Action Network to special needs organizations to New Jersey’s Catholic Charities to the Housing and Community Development Network, New Jersey Future, and the American Planning Association to the New Jersey Builders Association and other business groups – have asked the Supreme Court to affirm existing law and require that every municipality allow for its fair share of homes affordable to low- and moderate-income people.

Over the last few weeks, planners, community leaders, special needs housing providers, and civil rights leaders all speak out on the importance of housing opportunities for all citizens of New Jersey.  

The groups on the other side of the case – Governor Christie and wealthy municipalities – ask the Supreme Court to overturn four decades of fair housing law and risk the gains New Jersey, and the country, has made because of it. They would dismantle a system that a recent Princeton University study found has massive educational and economic impacts – such as a 25 percent increase in earnings and a 67 percent drop in welfare use.

More below the fold…

With NJ homelessness on the rise, the special needs community is disproportionately affected

According to the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report to Congress, released by HUD, homelessness rose 4.3% in New Jersey from 2009 to 2010.  This is particularly disturbing because many New Jersey municipalities continue to zone only large low-density lots preventing the opportunity for construction of much needed starter homes, group homes and special needs housing.

In a “friend of the court” brief by  Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey and the Corporation for Supportive Housing  to aid the New Jersey Supreme Court pending analysis of growth share calculations of the Council on Affordable Housing Third Round Rules, special needs providers urge the court to ensure homes are available.

The special needs community is the most discriminated population when looking for housing.  The average person with special needs pays 112.1% of their monthly income to rent a modest one-bedroom unit.  Nationally most tenants with psychiatric disabilities are too poor to afford housing at market rates and many operators or public housing and subsidized housing are unwilling to rent to them.  Persons with a disability are at higher risk of homelessness because a disability, particularly one relating to substance abuse or mental health, can make it difficult to work and earn enough to afford housing.

Nearly four in ten sheltered adults (36.8 percent) have a disability, compared to 24.6 percent of the poverty population and 15.3 percent of the total U.S. population. Thus, a homeless adult is nearly 2.5 times more likely to have a disability than an adult in the U.S. population as a whole.  

With rumors of legislative changes to New Jersey affordable housing, and pending analysis of growth share calculations by the New Jersey Supreme Court, one thing remains quite obvious, a system must remain in place that creates affordable homes for everyone, but especially the special needs communities.

Copy of brief can be found here.