Little Help for Jersey Shore Renters

Little Demand for
Two –year Rental Subsidy

Little Help for Jersey Shore RentersAn article last month in the Philadelphia Inquirer focused on the rental crisis post-Sandy at the shore. The article – Advocates: Little help for renters at Jersey Shore – was published on June 14, 2013.

The article states:

Advocates for renters and lower-income people displaced by Sandy say they are glad the Jersey Shore is open for business.

But don’t forget the bulk of the people who live there, they say.

In an extraordinarily tight rental market, one whose noose was pulled tighter by summer rental rates that kicked in last month, the advocates say not enough is being done to help those people.

Adam Gordon of Fair Share Housing Center  said:

“For homeowners, they say we have to make sure this all gets set up right away. But if you are a renter, there’s not really a [recovery] center for you. ‘We’ll get to you eventually.’ “

As though to prove the point, the Department of Community Affairs – whose commissioner, Richard Constable, held media conference calls to detail programs to distribute federal aid to homeowners – took more than 24 hours to respond to a request for information on programs aimed at renters.

The answer? “There is no additional information on the assistance programs for renters at this time,” spokesperson Tammori Petty said.

Gordon said the goal of stabilizing blue-collar Shore communities was in jeopardy if the state did not also find a way to keep displaced and priced-out renters in those year-round neighborhoods. “

They’re giving out $10,000 grants for homeowners to stay in their communities,” Gordon said. “There’s nothing like that for renters. The landlords are raising rents because of a shortage of rental housing after Sandy. More people are becoming displaced.”

Staci Berger, executive director of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, said an incentive program for landlords that subsidizes rents for two years had not been popular. “

There is resistance on the part of landlords because the rentals are for two years,” Berger said. “Once the subsidy goes away, the burden is on the landlord to evict” renters who cannot afford the market-rate rent. “The demand is so strong; the rents are so strong. The incentive is not enough.”

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