Olga Pomar of South Jersey Legal Services, who has represented families facing displacement and has helped block the city's massive eminent-domain projects in the courts, said the national pot of funding for affordable housing was shrinking.
The demolitions would be part of the city's five-year multimillion-dollar recovery plan, known as the Municipal Rehabilitation Economic Recovery Act.
Primas, Camden's chief operating officer, responded that those who wanted upfront guarantees on relocation were putting the cart before the horse. He said the city first had to attract the developers who would eventually fund the relocations.
Primas emphasized that developers like Cherokee Investment Partners of Raleigh, N.C., which has been named to redevelop the $1.2 billion Cramer Hill initiative, had deep pockets and could foot the bill to move residents.
"Many dollars will come from the developers," he said. "Cherokee is one of the largest developers . . . in the world."
Primas vowed that no resident would be moved until replacement housing was available.
Pomar said that the promise should be in writing in the legislation or be made a prerequisite for developers to participate in the redevelopment.
Primas said that wasn't necessary.
"If we don't have the dollars to do it, we can't buy the properties and the plans won't go forward," he said. "But we believe the financial resources are there."
Contact staff writer Dwight Ott at 856-779-3844 or email@example.com.