To Jack Morris, there isn’t much to consider when it comes to the partial government shutdown.
The impacts are real — especially now that the crisis has lasted nearly four weeks.
“You just have to have a conversation with yourself or anybody else to come to the determination that there’s a lot of men and women in this country that are without paychecks,” said Morris, the CEO and president of Edgewood Properties. “What more do you need to know?”
To that end, Edgewood is doing its part to help those impacted by the shutdown, allowing unpaid federal employees who live at its buildings to defer their rent payments until they receive their back wages. The Piscataway-based firm and its affiliate, M&M Realty Partners, are also waiving any late charges for those renters, as detailed in a letter sent this week to residents in their portfolio.
The company did not take the time to count how many federal employees live in its buildings, but there figures to be many in a portfolio that spans more than 3,000 units, most of which are in New Jersey.
“Hopefully, not only can we help these people with this situation where they’re not getting a paycheck, but I also think that the government has to make some decisions here,” Morris said. “I’m disappointed that they’re not making these decisions a little faster than they’re making them.”
Morris is used to keeping a low profile, despite Edgewood’s vast holdings, and he and his company are quietly involved in a host of philanthropic efforts. But he is choosing to speak about this latest step in hopes that other multifamily operators will follow suit.
“It’s the right thing to do,” he said, “and I just hope that other people feel the way I do and can help in any way they can.”
Edgewood is also finding other ways to help. Morris noted that, without his knowledge, his employees organized a food drive to help government workers at its properties who are now missing paychecks, a campaign in which fellow residents have participated.
“I was really pleased to hear that my employees took it upon themselves to do this and also that our residents are participating,” he said. “So it makes people feel good they’re able to help others.”