Princeton Community Housing thanks supporters for helping Griggs Farm fire victims

Two and a half months after the tragic December 27, 2017 fire at Griggs Farm, nearly all of the 34 displaced residents who needed to find temporary housing have secured affordable homes in the area, enabling them to maintain key community, school and employment connections over the next 10-12 months while the building is being reconstructed.

Princeton Community Housing (PCH, a nonprofit organization), and the Human Services Department (HSD) of the municipality of Princeton have been working closely with the residents throughout this time. PCH thanks all the donors who provided generous support to help the residents. Recent gifts have provided financial support to all the displaced residents, including instances where funds were needed for security deposits or to close the gap between the monthly rent for temporary affordable homes and the monthly rent a resident was paying at Griggs Farm (approximately 30 percent of their income). Previous gifts, as noted earlier, helped PCH to pay for six weeks of emergency housing, as well as to provide money, gift cards, food, clothing, and other items directly to the residents.

Because we have reached this temporary housing milestone and distributed this financial and other support to the displaced residents, we know we have helped the residents regain a measure of stability and independence to continue to move forward with their efforts to bring normalcy back to their lives. We will continue to work with residents to help them identify the area organizations that can best provide the resources other than temporary housing that the residents may need to move forward with their lives. While PCH will be transitioning from active solicitation for donations to the
Griggs Farm Fire Relief Fund, we will distribute to residents any additional contributions we may receive. We will be focusing efforts on working with the Griggs Farm Condo Association to restore the building – and on moving forward with our larger mission to build, manage and advocate for affordable housing opportunities in Princeton.

In this regard, the challenges PCH and HSD faced in locating temporary affordable homes for the residents demonstrate the significant need for additional affordable homes in the area. PCH was not able to place the Griggs Farm residents in other PCH apartments because there are no vacancies and wait lists are 12-24 months long. Other affordable home providers are in a similar situation. In Princeton, 6 percent of families are below the federal poverty level and another 18% are below the “ALICE Threshold” (the United Way’s measuring a Household Survival Budget). Additionally, because only about 10 percent of Princeton homes are deed-restricted as affordable for low- or moderate-income households to rent or buy, there’s a wide gap between the
supply and demand for affordable housing. Other neighboring areas also have a big housing shortage. Having affordable homes in communities with excellent schools and other resources helps the families living in these homes – and helps the community that thrives through the contributions of its diverse residents.

We continue to welcome unrestricted contributions for PCH to support our mission. These gifts will be used for the programs benefitting the over 1,000 current residents, as well as ongoing efforts to expand the inventory of affordable homes in the area. To make a gift, you may:

1. Mail or bring your check, made payable to Princeton Community Housing to:
Princeton Community Housing, One Monument Hall, Lower Level, Princeton, NJ 08540

2. Give securely online via credit card at: https://www.princetoncommunityhousing.org/support-pch/donate or https://princetoncommunityhousing.networkforgood.com/

Thank you again very much to all the donors and local organizations for their generosity and kindness in helping the displaced Griggs Farm residents and in strengthening our vibrant, diverse, and welcoming community that is home to people of many income levels participating together.

Ed Truscelli
Executive Director
Princeton Community Housing