FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, August 30, 2019

Dr. Soaries Life’s Work has Impacted Community Development and Revitalization in New Jersey

TRENTON, NJ – Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver today announced that Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. will provide the keynote address for the 2019 Governor’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development. The conference will take place on Sunday, September 15 through Tuesday, September 17th at the Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City.

“I am so excited to share the news that Dr. Soaries will be headlining this year’s conference. He is a true pioneer in the faith-based community who has dedicated his life’s work to spiritual growth, educational excellence, and economic empowerment,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). “New Jersey’s housing and economic development professionals will greatly benefit from hearing Dr. Soaries speak with his extensive background in community development and profound ability to marry scripture to relevant issues we face in our communities.”

Dr. Soaries has served as the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG) in Somerset, New Jersey since 1990. As a pioneer of faith-based community development, his impact on First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG) and the community has been tremendous. He founded the Central Jersey Community Development Corporation (CJCDC), a non-profit organization that specializes in revitalizing distressed neighborhoods. He also founded the Harvest of Hope Family Services Network, Inc. (HOH), which develops permanent solutions for children in the foster care system.

Dr. Soaries served as New Jersey’s first African American male Secretary of State. He currently serves as an independent director at three companies: Independence Realty Trust, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and Ocwen Financial Corporation.

"The daunting challenge facing our nation is to prove that freedom can translate into full economic participation. We will have arrived when every community offers equal access and opportunity to employment, housing and health care resources. Committed and collaborative leaders can make New Jersey the model for the nation in achieving those goals,” said Dr. Soaries.

In addition to announcing Dr. Soaries as the keynote speaker this year, there are several new features at the conference. For the first time, there will be a track offered on Women and Business with one of the panels moderated by DCA Assistant Commissioner, Dr. Kimberly K. Holmes, Esq.  Attendees are invited to join this track for a continental breakfast and breakout session that will address women in business focusing on the keys to a successful business and building business partnerships. This is an educational and networking opportunity that is open to all attendees.

The conference will once again feature an Atlantic City area bus tour with the Casino Redevelopment Authority which will be visiting key locations that highlight the diverse and positive progress that is happening in Atlantic City.

Also new to the conference this year is that lawyers in attendance can earn Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits by attending certain workshops. Lawyers that are members of National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) may earn one continuing education credit for designated sessions.

Other conference highlights include a Hall of Fame awards reception, a Networking Reception, a Plenary Session, a Governor's Excellence in Housing and Economic Development Awards Presentation, and a trade show featuring products and services from businesses and organizations that serve the housing and property management community.

The NJ Governor’s Conference for Housing and Economic Development is co-hosted by the DCA, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

Registration is still open for the 2019 Governor’s Conference for Housing and Economic Development. For more information or to register, visit:

You can follow the conference on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @njhousingconf.

For more information about DCA, visit or follow the Department on social media:     

   DCa on Twitter

Tammori Petty
Gina Trish
Lisa Ryan
(609) 292-6055