New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT) and the New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative have been working with residents since earlier this year to develop a New Brunswick tenants’ association.
The goal of the association is to advocate for housing policies that promote safe and secure housing conditions in New Brunswick. Earlier this month, the tenants’ association met with partners across the city to address the housing issues that surfaced during the pandemic, providing feedback to the City and other housing partners and officials.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put housing security at risk for the residents of New Brunswick, rental assistance and protections are crucial. At our most recent meeting, more than 15 tenants were provided with information on current rental assistance programs at the State and County levels, and educated them on why they should complete a State-issued “income self-certification form.” This form sets in motion a variety of things, but ultimately, may help tenants identify other available assistance, while also protecting them from eviction.
As we transition out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working with residents to know their rights as tenants. We have also begun to review proposed city housing ordinances regarding water utilities, provided by the landlord. In the near future, they will provide initial feedback to the City regarding the ordinance. These efforts are a string of examples for what we hope results in an understanding of current city ordinances, empowering them to research best practices from other communities to gather and develop feedback to the City. We hope that by gaining this knowledge, tenants will be in a better position to exercise their rights and know the available resources around housing in New Brunswick, leading to better communications between tenants, landlords, and the city offices.
We are happy to report that we will be able to continue to expand our work in healthy housing due to additional funding from Santander Bank and a BUILD Health Challenge supplemental grant. The $20,000 additional funding from BUILD will help us support the tenant association and housing policy work, while the $10K from Santander Bank will support community outreach efforts.