How does Commissioner Constable plan to renew funding for the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund?
When asked if he would replenish the fund, the Commissioner did not answer the question directly and then spoke about the SNHTF and answered by indicating what the fund had accomplished in the past. He stated that $190 million leveraged an additional $192 million to build a total of 1,519 units with 1,700 beds. While he gave no assurances, he is now aware that the program is known by legislators, is depleted and the critical importance for its renewal.
Senator Bucco responded to the Commission by saying, “I see you will keep it going somehow.”
In addition, the Commissioner spoke about the Special Needs Partnership and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program as evidence of the work that DCA is doing to address the needs of people with special needs. He suggested that the LIHTC would provide special needs housing development since every funded project needs to provide a certain percentage of its housing for people with special needs. He specifically mentioned that Project Freedom was again applying for LIHTC.
Although the LIHTC projects and the Special Needs Partnership are important, they only serve a small portion of the population reached by SNHTF projects. In addition, without rental assistance LIHTC projects can too expensive for many in need of special needs housing.
As background, the SNHTF was created under former Governor Codey with $200 million to specifically address housing people with special needs. It is still not clear whether or not the State will invest new money in the SHNTF which has run out of money.
For more information on the Renew NJ’s Special Needs Housing Trust Fund campaign click here.