FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2009

 

 

UNION COUNTY DECLARES OCTOBER TENANTS MONTH
Renter’s rights during foreclosure process will be highlighted

 

Elizabeth, NJ –The month of October has been designated Union County Tenants Month by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.  Officials from the county will join with state and municipal officials to alert renters of their rights when the owners of properties go into foreclosure.

One event that is planned for the month will take place on Thursday, October 29 at the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, located at 118 Division Street. A Tenancy 101 workshop will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The workshop will include tenant’s rights and how to find an apartment. For those who work, the tenant’s rights section will be repeated that same evening from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.  This is a joint project of the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless and Central Jersey Legal Services.

“Renters have been stuck in the middle of the foreclosure issue,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “In some cases, they have been evicted illegally. We hope that with this designation, information will go out to renters so they know where they can get answers to their questions.”

Local community groups will join forces to get the word out to residents about the serious problems occurring as a result of the foreclosure crisis. Local media outlets are being urged to spotlight this effort during the month.

In December of last year, the Board of Chosen Freeholders formed the Union County Foreclosure Task Force to address the impact of the mortgage foreclosure crisis and to generate support for neighborhood stability in the county.  State, county and municipal officials plus representatives of certified foreclosure counseling agencies, legal services, housing advocates, among others convene bi-monthly in a cooperative effort aimed at stabilizing our neighborhoods and helping residents to remain in their homes.  The Task Force is chaired by Al Faella, Director of the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal and Frank Guzzo, Director of the Department of Human Services.

While the Task Force initially focused on helping homeowners facing foreclosure, we have learned that the impact of foreclosures quickly trickles down to residents who rent.  Housing Advocates see increased numbers of individuals and families being pressured to leave their apartments because the home is in foreclosure.  According to Janice Chapin, Director of Central Jersey Legal Services, “It is not unusual for tenants to come in confused as to where to pay their rent.  Landlords have been dishonest and taken the rent when it was to go to the banks.  Ultimately, a family can become homeless in the confusion.”

For more information on the Union County Foreclosure Taskforce, including tenant’s rights information you can log on to: http://www.ucnj.org/foreclosure/index.html.