Today, Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla announced the creation of the new Division of Housing within the Department of Community Development that will be led by Councilwoman Vanessa Falco. The new division will provide greater accessibility and more resources to address the City’s affordable housing needs.
“Our goal in Hoboken is to ensure that residents who depend on affordable housing can remain in the mile-square city and continue to make it a vibrant community,” said Mayor Bhalla. “This new division will provide residents with more resources and greater access to affordable housing options in the years to come. Given Councilwoman Falco’s proven track record on the City Council as an affordable housing advocate, I am confident she will do a tremendous job on behalf of our constituents as the head of the new Division of Housing.”
Falco, a lifelong resident and At-large councilwoman for the past four years, has successfully advocated for and launched a number of affordable housing initiatives on the Council. In collaboration with the administration, Councilwoman Falco initiated an ordinance to increase contributions to the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. She also serves as Chair of the Affordable Housing Sub-committee of the City Council and most recently worked with Director of Community Development Chris Brown to secure a developer for a new senior housing development at 11th Street and Willow Avenue.
“It’s vital that residents can continue to live, work, play, and afford to raise families in Hoboken,” said Councilwoman Falco. “I’m incredibly happy that I will now be able to focus all my time and energy on the affordable housing needs of my community full-time. This is a big undertaking, but I know Mayor Bhalla understands the complexity of this role and the challenges Hoboken faces on affordable housing. I look forward to joining the administration, and I thank Mayor Bhalla for his confidence in me.”
The City of Hoboken will restructure the Department of Community Development to include the new Division of Housing that will also encompass the City’s Rent Control Office. This restructuring will increase efficiencies and access to affordable housing resources for residents. The new division will utilize additional funding allocated by the City Council in the recently adopted budget to bolster the City’s Rent Control Office.
As the head of the Division of Housing, Falco will create processes to audit the City’s affordable housing stock, prepare city ordinances that increase the allotment of affordable housing in new developments on certain projects, and work with the Director of Community Development to ensure the required amount of funding is placed in the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund from various development projects.
She will also work with the administration to enforce the City’s affordable housing ordinances, act as the City’s liaison to the Hoboken Housing Authority, and initiate additional community engagement on affordable housing, among several other duties.
“I have worked hand-in-hand with Councilwoman Falco, and I look forward to our continued collaboration,” said Chris Brown, Director of the Department of Community Development. “She will bring a wealth of knowledge to my department as we continue to strengthen the City’s affordable housing portfolio.”
Falco will begin her new position in January after finishing her term on the City Council in December. The reorganization of the Department of Community Development is expected to occur before the end of this year.