With the approval of the COAH Board on May 1, 2013, the Christie administration had warned towns to spend subsidized housing money and now officials have begun the process of seizing those funds.
Walsh explained on NJTV that the money was collected by municipalities from developers to build housing in their communities.
“For instance, a new Home Depot or something like that comes into town and they have to pay a fee for the building. That occurs with the idea being that the workers who work in that building need a place to live and this money will help fund that housing,” he said. “And so it’s money that the towns have had and it’s money that we want them to keep.”
“All throughout the state of New Jersey, a couple hundred different municipalities have those sorts of contracts because they finally felt the push to spend the money. And just as they felt that push and started making those contracts, the Christie administration started pulling the rug out from underneath them,” Walsh said. “So it’s really a missed opportunity, especially after Hurricane Sandy when at a time in our state we already have a really expensive housing market.”
According to Walsh, the housing created with the funds would help people who earn less than 80 percent of the median income. “It’s people who are working hard, oftentimes working one, two, three jobs in a household but they might be earning minimum wage or just above it and with New Jersey being one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, those are folks who oftentimes can’t afford a place to live,” he explained.
In addition according to Walsh, municipal officials who have asked for guidance have been given the run around, being told they will get an answer at a later date.
“As we go into a process in which the administration is preparing to raid up to $200 million in housing money, no one knows what the standard is that has to be met. And they’re not being transparent in what they’re asking for,” Walsh said.