2010 Governor's Conference on Housing and Community Development
Kicks off Today in Atlantic City

Conference Comes Amidst News of State Receiving Federal Funds for Foreclosure Prevention

ATLANTIC CITY - Approximately 1,200 housing professionals, government officials, developers, lenders, nonprofits and consultants are gathered today at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the start of the 2010 Governor's Conference on Housing and Community Development being hosted by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA).

Over the course of the next two days, conference participants will learn ways they can navigate today's turbulent economy and advance housing projects in communities throughout the state. Attendees can also get acquainted with programs available to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure, including the New Jersey Home Keeper program announced last week.

"The conference theme "Opening Doors" was picked for an important reason. Sometimes in downturns such as this it can seem as if doors to better times are shut and locked," said DCA Commissioner Lori Grifa. "But opportunities and assistance continue to exist even for people in the most challenging situations. Governor Christie's announcement last week of the New Jersey Home Keeper program is a prime example."

The New Jersey Home Keeper program, to be launched in January 2011, will be administered through the HMFA and is designed to assist unemployed and underemployed homeowners make their monthly mortgage payments for up to 24 months. New Jersey will receive $112 million in federal dollars through the Hardest Hit Fund, a federal foreclosure prevention initiative, for the new program.

The New Jersey Home Keeper program will provide a zero percent interest rate, deferred payment mortgage loans to unemployed and underemployed homeowners, who through no fault of their own, are financially unable to make their mortgage payments and are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. Loans will be capped at $48,000 per household and will not exceed 24 months.

The new program will be addressed today in one of the nearly 30 sessions available to conference participants. The conference will feature five workshop tracks, each of which will focus on different aspects of housing deals. The workshop session topics range from supportive housing, homelessness prevention and affordable housing design to energy efficient retrofits, tax credits, financing strategies and urban agriculture.

Attendees will also hear from world-renowned architect and designer and New Jersey native Michael Graves, FAIA, who is the luncheon keynote speaker. Since he founded his practice in 1964, Graves has designed more than 350 buildings worldwide, including the Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan Hotels, as well as the award-winning Human Building in Louisville, Kentucky.

Conference highlights include:

Tuesday, September 28
Keynote Address Luncheon – 12:15 p.m.
DCA Commissioner Lori Grifa
Michael Graves, FAIA

Bus Tour of Atlantic City Community Development Projects – 2:30 p.m.
Participants will tour Atlantic City's innovative community development projects and learn how they are opening doors for a more sustainable future.

Wednesday, September 29
Excellence in Housing Awards Luncheon – 12:30 p.m.
The HMFA will honor eight organizations and one individual in recognition for their outstanding work in housing development.

The annual Governor's Conference on Housing and Community Development is sponsored by the Department of Community Affairs and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, a DCA affiliate. For further information about the conference, please call (609) 278-7400, or log on to http://www.nj.gov/dca/hmfa/.