Fund For NJ Says State Needs More Affordable Housing

Oct 11, 2017

Advocates urge state to do more to expand affordable home supply.

A philanthropic foundation says many New Jersey residents struggle with the high costs of housing.

The Fund for New Jersey is making several recommendations to increase the amount of affordable homes.

Staci Berger leads the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. She says one proposed initiative would provide $600 million in tax credits for developers to build affordable housing for working families, seniors, and people with disabilities.

“For us this is really a question of political will. The vast majority of that funding is already being collected by the state. About 495 to 500 million of it already comes in through realty transfer fees. It just has simply been diverted and needs to be restored.”

Another recommendation calls for the state to create a program to purchase vacant foreclosed properties and rehabilitate them as affordable homes.

Peter Reinhart is a professor of real estate policy at Monmouth University. He says a combination of state funding and incentives for the private sector is needed.

“New Jersey is a still a very desirable state to live in and work, make no bones about it, but it is in danger of losing market share to other states if we don’t do more to address the housing needs of current residents as well as future ones.”

Kevin Walsh with the Fair Share Housing Center believes many local officials welcome the chance to put together a fair housing plan.

“They realize that the old lumber yard in town really could benefit from redevelopment. They realize that there’s a lot to gain from promoting housing near the train station. And they realize the sky is not going to fall if they update their zoning ordinances to permit multi-family housing.”

Advocates say developing more affordable homes could encourage more residents to stay in the state instead of moving to less expensive locations.