Update on SRAP Funding

This was in today’s Star-Ledger and provides an update on the status of the campaign to preserve both SRAP and Balanced Housing.

Rent-relief program is cut by $10 million
Friday, June 15, 2007

BY TOM HESTER

Affordable housing advocates expressed surprise yesterday after learning the Corzine administration cut $10 million from a $17.5 million program that provides rental assistance to low-income renters.

Administration officials said the aid would be replaced with $10 million from the state Balanced Housing fund to support affordable housing. But the advocates said when the subtracting and adding of dollars is done, there is still $10 million less for affordable housing efforts.

About 3,700 low-income households benefited from the state rental assistance in the past year, according to activists with the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, a nonprofit coalition of affordable housing groups.

“Members are very upset,” said Staci Berger, the Network’s advocacy director. “This (affordable housing) has been a cornerstone of the governor’s platform. We had no warning and there is all this talk of the budget being transparent. This goes against that. They are robbing Peter to pay Paul and this does not set a good precedent.”

Brendan Gilfillan, a spokesman for Gov. Jon Corzine, said, “The governor is committed to ensuring that we maintain our commitment to affordable housing programs, and we are currently working on language to meet that goal.”

Gilfillan was referring to the administration effort to meet a court mandate to rewrite the rules municipalities must follow to meet their latest affordable housing obligations. Community Affairs Commissioner Susan Bass Levin said the new rules should be approved early next year.

Berger and Paige Carlson-Heim, the Network’s director, worked the Statehouse corridors to alert legislators to the funding reduction. They also fired off a letter to Corzine.

© 2007 The Star Ledger
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