Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge joined Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, and a number of other Mercer County politicians today to cut the ribbon on Jennings Village, an affordable housing development in North Trenton.
“Every single person in this nation deserves a safe place,” Fudge said. “I am so very pleased to be here for this ribbon-cutting. I am happy that HUD was able to put some resources in it… This is our opportunity. And if we blow it, it will be nobody’s fault but our own.”
Jennings Village has been in the works since 2006, though its groundbreaking only took place two years ago, and 50 of its 72 units are already occupied. The building is named for the late civil rights activist Edith Savage-Jennings, who was a Trenton native and a close confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“It is entirely fitting that this project be named in Ms. Edith’s honor, as her heart always stood for taking care of vulnerable families and children throughout the city and America,” Gusciora said. “This development is a resounding victory for the city and for the residents who will call it home.”
Also in attendance at today’s ceremony were Trenton’s three legislators – State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence), Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Trenton), and Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli (D-Hopewell) – as well as Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes and Trenton Councilman Joe Harrison.
Notably absent were several Trenton councilmembers, including Council President Kathy McBride, with whom Gusciora has frequently feuded. Gusciora and the entire council are up for re-election this year, and today’s event is a possible signal that state and national Democrats are in the mayor’s corner.
Fudge, who also visited Newark’s Donald M. Payne Senior School of Technology today, has come to New Jersey twice before in her role as HUD Secretary: once with Gov. Phil Murphy and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka in May 2021, and again with Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen in June 2021, just days before Carstarphen’s Democratic primary victory.