Poverty in New Jersey

Why many residents are forced to turn to Affordable Housing programs in the wake of a pandemic.

According to the U.S. Census, New Jersey has one of the lowest poverty rates in the nation. Ask any New Jersey resident, and you will likely hear a different story. The truth of the matter is that more New Jersey residents than ever live below the poverty line in the wake of the pandemic. 

As NYC offices started to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many opted to escape city life in exchange for the New Jersey suburbs. This caused home and rental prices to skyrocket, forcing even more people than before into a position where they could not afford housing costs in the state.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “$24,800 is sufficient for a family of four to live off of.” That might be true for some parts of our nation, but that does not consider that New Jersey has one of the highest costs of living in the country. Once you calculate housing costs and the basic cost of living, what might be considered “normal living wage” in other parts of the U.S. is not enough to cover even just the most basic housing costs in New Jersey.

Statistics show that in Camden, NJ, the average household income is $20,070 a year and an astounding 36.4% of the town’s residents live in poverty. Many Camden residents have been forced to turn to the state’s affordable housing program for assistance. 

That is where Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey is able to help.

Through partnerships with state and federal agencies and financial institutions, we offer affordable apartment and townhome rentals to low-income families and seniors in need of housing who meet the applicable income limits.

We currently provide housing to more than 1,045 qualified N.J. residents who live in LSMNJ Affordable Housing. According to Heather Kato, Director of Marketing & Communications at Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey:

“Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey (LSMNJ) receives more than 50 inquiries each week from people in need of affordable housing options in Camden. Many do not have a permanent place to live for themselves or their families.” 

Programs like ours regulate rental prices to be within a low-income family’s means, typically around 30% of their income. LSMNJ offers four affordable family housing properties in Camden, Peapack, Jersey City, and Trenton, and seven affordable senior housing properties located in Old Bridge, Pennsauken, Whitehouse Station, Roosevelt, Piscataway, Flanders, and South Plainfield.

If you are in need of affordable housing or would like more information on Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey’s Housing Programs, please visit us here or call 609-699-4136.