St. Mary’s Catholic Home Needs To Survive: By Law?

Today, in a very enlightening article written by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Kevin Riordan, we learn about the heartbreaking possibility that hundreds of elderly Cherry Hill citizens may be losing their home.

The St. Mary’s Catholic Home of Cherry Hill is scheduled to be sold by the Diocese of Camden, which could displace the residents who currently live there. In Kevin’s article, Anne Rush’s potential heartbreak is made quite clear. In what is becoming a classic aspect of housing dilemmas, information is hard to come by. From New Orleans to Cherry Hill, those who will immediately be impacted by the fate of a housing development are regularly left in the dark.

Despite the Diocese’s desire to sell St. Mary’s, possibly to a for-profit company, they may be unable to by law.

According to the New Jersey Guide to Affordable Housing- Camden County, St. Mary’s is listed as one of just seven affordable housing developments in Cherry Hill. Also, according to the latest substantive rules released by COAH, Cherry Hill has an unanswered housing obligation of 589 units.

Since Cherry Hill essentially owes the State of New Jersey almost 600 affordable units, there may be a legal injunction that prohibits St. Mary’s from being sold to for-profit hands.

Perhaps most importantly, even if St. Mary’s remains as it currently is, Cherry Hill still needs to get the memo about following constitutional mandates. My township needs to get serious about constructing affordable units, just like other towns already have.

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