Time for NJ Towns to Finally Fulfill Housing Obligation

Build Affordable Homes in NJ

Richard T. SmithSeveral recent op-eds in NJ newspapers have focused on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s March decision that gave lower courts the authority to require cities and towns to create affordable housing for the “growing numbers of seniors, working families and people with disabilities.”

On September 24, 2015, the Star-Ledger ran an opinion piece “Time for NJ towns to finally fulfill obligation to build affordable housing” by the Rev. Darrell Armstrong, M.Div., Ed.S., pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton and a representative to the United Nations from the Baptist World Alliance.

Rev. Armstrong wrote about the court decision that gives the state the power to address the “current housing crisis” in which “thousands of children aren’t able to attend high-quality schools or grow up in neighborhoods where they feel safe enough to play outside.”

“The voters of New Jersey, must tell our municipal officials that further delay must no longer be tolerated. We must ask our mayors and our township council members what they are doing to comply with the court’s demands. We need to insist that they work with us to properly implement these court decisions so that our state’s prosperity can reach every New Jersey resident both today and tomorrow. We need to hold our elected officials accountable.

Hard-working families across our state have waited long enough.”

Wrote Armstrong.

Richard T. Smith, president of the NAACPs New Jersey State Conference, authored an op-ed in the Philly Voice, “Ensure that New Jersey families get housing choices they deserve.”

“As the New Jersey president of the NAACP, I write to declare that our commitment to affordable housing as a civil right is as unshakable today as it was in the 1980s, when we brought the first lawsuit on behalf of those Mount Laurel residents. We fully support the recent court rulings designed to jump-start the development of new housing opportunities for minorities and working families, many of them African American and Latino.”

Wrote Smith.

“To ensure families get the housing opportunities they are entitled to and desperately need.”

“The New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision to give the lower courts the power to ensure that cities and towns create housing for the elderly and low working families. Instead of litigating and fighting affordable housing, towns can embrace it and work to create “equal opportunities for every American, regardless of income or race.”

Smith urged New Jersey’s municipalities to work with housing advocates, including Fair Share Housing Center, the NAACP and the nonprofit and for-profit development communities can work with towns to create affordable housing.

The Rev. Gregory Jackson, pastor of the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Hackensack and president of the Fellowship of Black Churches in Hackensack authored a similar op-ed, “We must act to ensure more housing affordability in New Jersey.”

“The time has come for the people of North Jersey to demand better. Instead of passively sitting by while our elected officials continue to practice injustice in our name, we must take action. We must rise up and tell our leaders that they need to stop the delaying tactics and come to the table with advocates for the poor, African-Americans and Latinos.”

Jackson reminds leaders that right in the Bergen County suburbs in Northern New Jersey,

“Too many poor, predominantly minority families have been priced out. That means tens of thousands of children denied access to safe neighborhoods and quality schools. And it means that working families trapped in impoverished inner cities can’t get jobs in growing suburban markets.”

Writes Jackson in The Record.

Click here for the full Star-Ledger opinion piece.

Click here for the full Philly Voice op-ed piece.

Click here for the full Record op-ed piece.