Hoboken Councilwoman-at-Large Vanessa Falco won’t be seeking re-election in the November 2nd municipal elections, instead opting to be the city’s first director of their new division of housing.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The division of housing will be a subdivision within the department of community development and will aim to provide greater accessibility/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,” Mayor Ravi Bhalla said in a statement.
“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 the first African American woman to serve on the council, has successfully advocated for a number of affordable housing initiatives on the council.
For example, in collaboration with the administration, Falco initiated an ordinance to increase contributions to the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
She also serves as chair of the council’s Affordable Housing Sub-committee and most recently worked with Community Development Director Chris Brown to secure a developer for a new senior housing development at 11th Street and Willow Avenue.
Falco also credited 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco for helping with the initiative back in December.
“It’s vital that residents can continue to live, work, play, and afford to raise families in Hoboken. 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,” Falco stated.
“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.”
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.
She will also 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 and earn an annual salary of $87,500.
The City of Hoboken plans to restructure the Department of Community Development to include the new Division of Housing, which will also encompass the city’s Rent Control Office.
Falco 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. She will bring a wealth of knowledge to my department as we continue to strengthen the City’s affordable housing portfolio,” added Brown.
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.
Falco was elected in November 2017 and was a member of DeFusco’s council-at-large slate.