Miciak and Driscoll call on Governor Christie and the Legislature:
To take some positive action to improve the system. Start with the first order of business: give municipalities clear direction on what ‘committed’ means for their housing funds. Then, don’t let $175 million in local funds get swallowed up by the state budget … Let’s put this money to work to build affordable housing, create jobs, contribute to the local economy and attract new business.
They praise the New Jersey appellate court’s recent decision to reinstate the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) but voice concern that the real focus be kept on addressing the real problems that keep local communities from creating the affordable housing that they badly need.
The $175 million in municipal housing trust funds that is not “committed” could be captured by the State as early as July. And without that critical funding, how will communities fulfill their mandate to create affordable housing? And what does the state mean by “committed?”
They paint a clear picture of how badly the trust funds are needed to make housing more affordable for everyone in New Jersey. According to the recent Out of Reach Report and United Way research:
62% of New Jersey renters cannot afford fair market rent apartments in the state; and
Nearly ¼ of households in Northern NJ are working poor – child care workers, cashiers, office workers and mechanics, whose work we all rely on, do not make enough money to afford the basics that many of us take for granted – housing, food, child care and transportation.