Affordable housing needs exceed 166,000 units

In a report in today’s Star-Ledger they reported that “New Jersey’s cities and towns should come up with more than 115,000 new houses and apartments for moderate- and low-income residents over the next decade to address New Jersey’s affordable housing crisis, a state consultant’s report released yesterday concludes.

The state Council on Affordable Housing also projects another 51,000 deteriorating houses and apartments should be rehabilitated by 2018.”

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Report: N.J. needs to step up efforts on affordable housing
115,000 units will be needed in next 10 years

Friday, January 04, 2008 BY TOM HESTER,Star-Ledger Staff

New Jersey’s cities and towns should come up with more than 115,000 new houses and apartments for moderate- and low-income residents over the next decade to address New Jersey’s affordable housing crisis, a state consultant’s report released yesterday concludes.

The state Council on Affordable Housing also projects another 51,000 deteriorating houses and apartments should be rehabilitated by 2018.

The figures show New Jersey’s need for affordable housing is far greater than state officials had previously projected, outstripping Gov. Jon Corzine’s goal to provide 100,000 new or refurbished affordable housing units over the next 10 years.

“This is important for the public because we have one of the highest housing costs in the nation and it is only getting worse,” said Kevin D. Walsh, counsel for the Cherry Hill-based nonprofit Fair Share Housing Center. “The cost of housing affects everybody from single mothers who are struggling to give their kids a good education in a good neighborhood and school system to police officers and firefighters and seniors on fixed incomes.”

The report, prepared by the Philadelphia-based Econsult Corp., determined that more affordable housing would be needed based on projections of how many new jobs will be created — and how many total houses and apartments will be generated — over the next decade.

Using this yardstick, it predicts the greatest growth — and need for affordable housing — will occur in Gloucester, Sussex, Ocean, Hunterdon, Warren and Burlington counties. The report suggests, for example, that Parsippany-Troy Hills would have to create 1,783 units of affordable housing, and South Brunswick would have to come up with 1,223.

COAH Director Lucy Voorhoeve stressed yesterday the numbers for some towns will drop if they cooperated in providing affordable housing in the past or can show they do not have the land to build on.

Since 1987, 308 of New Jersey’s 566 towns have willingly participated in the affordable housing effort, while more than 60 others have been taken to court to act. The nearly 200 remaining towns have either failed to participate or did not have to.

Walsh yesterday said while he welcomed any increase in projected numbers, his group believes the affordable housing need is far greater.

One matter that remains unsettled is how the Corzine administration and Legislature would fund the affordable housing effort, a cost some estimate could reach $18 billion.

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