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Fighting For Our Working Families

Chances are, if you live in South Jersey, there's one in your town. Vacant and overgrown, it quickly becomes the neighborhood eyesore, if not a daily reminder of how hard times still linger here.

Despite trends upward, foreclosures in New Jersey are still persistently high, and worse yet, South Jersey has the most in the state. It's why, in 2018, we dove deeply into the research on this topic and joined partners across sectors to seek out solutions. Last week, we made strides to implement some of our findings; assembling more than 50 business and community leaders in a roundtable discussion on strategies to resolve this critical issue.  

Another critical project that has gained momentum--and funding-- is a new program focused on helping veterans become nurses. Its goal is to attract and support veterans in the nursing field so that they can provide primary care to other veterans after graduation. With a comprehensive support system in place, this unique new program and partnership with the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden will prove an exceptional benefit to our South Jersey veteran community, as well as those who have served but are seeking a new career as a civilian. 

Details on this program and others, along with sizzling summer plans for children in Cumberland County and a recap of a monthlong gun safety awareness movement, are below.

Darren Spielman
Executive Director
Sarah Allred
Faculty Director
Addressing Distressed Housing in South Jersey  In May 2018, the foreclosure rate in New Jersey was 1 in every 639 housing units; far higher than the 1 in every 1835 ratio of foreclosure across the country. It's a troubling statistic that drove more than 50 business and community members representing the public and private sectors, including WRI Executive Director Darren Spielman, to a June 26 round table discussion on next steps for addressing this issue. The forum, led by The Financial Wellness Institute, Land Dimensions, and WRI recapped findings of the 2018 report: Turning Toxic Liabilities into Community Assets and focused on ways to advance some of its market-driven strategies for recovery. Read more.
Veterans Serving Veterans Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden has launched an innovative new program for military veterans, which seeks to train service members as registered nurses with the long-term goal of providing primary care to other veterans. The Veteran Nurses in Primary Care program is supported by a three-year, nearly $1.5 million federal grant and will provide a comprehensive support system to increase nursing degree completion among veterans, as well as assess the resources and services that veteran students need to transition into an academic environment and succeed in their studies. WRI will be providing technical evaluation and quality improvement assessment throughout the project. Read more
Keeping Communities Safe Throughout the month of June, the Cumberland County Positive Youth Development Coalition (CCPYDC)--one of WRI's key community-based initiatives--led efforts to bring awareness to gun safety and strengthen connections to law enforcement in the community. Their signature event, Coffee With A Cop, entered its third year at the Cumberland Mall and drew more than 300 people to engage in a host of fun and educational activities centered on safety and strengthening community relations with local police. Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae penned this letter about gun violence in Cumberland County, and every week during the month of June, residents were invited to participate in corner store health and safety events featuring health screenings, free lead testing kits, and gun safety locks for gun owners. See the photos on Facebook and learn more.
Play Streets are Back! Originating in New York City back in 1914, "PAL PlayStreets" turns city streets into magical playgrounds for children during the hot summer months when keeping cool and connecting with friends are top priorities. This year, Play Streets in South Jersey returns to downtown Bridgeton, Millville, and Vineland throughout July and August, with plenty of family-friendly activities and more! Additional pop-up locations are scheduled throughout the county. An initiative of CCPYDC, this annual community event has successfully connected hundreds of children and families with safe, fun summer activities and provided opportunities to get to know local law enforcement since 2016. Details can be found here.
Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers University-Camden, addresses public policy issues impacting Southern New Jersey through applied research, community engagement and organizational development.
Our mailing address is:
Senator Walter Rand Institute of Public Affairs
411 Cooper Street,
Camden, New Jersey 08102

Copyright ©2019 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution. All rights reserved. 

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Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs · 411 Cooper Street · Camden, NJ 08102 · USA

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