NJ League of Municipalities Disputes NJ’s Affordable Homes Needs

Debate Possibility of Creating Thousands of Affordable Homes

An Affordable Housing Success StoryOn September 28, 2015, the New Jersey League of Municipalities released two reports that question the validity and practicality of obligations calculated by advocates early this year.

Colleen O’Dea with NJ Spotlight reported on this story.

In July, Fair Share Housing Center documented the need.

“Released an expert report five months ago that found New Jersey municipalities have to provide 350,000 units to cover past, present, and future needs. That figure is equal to roughly 10 percent of the total number of housing units currently built in the state.”

The League’s two studies found that Fair Share’s affordable housing numbers are “overstated” and “impossible” to reach within the next ten years.

Authors for Nassau Capital Advisors:

”Looked at the way the state’s “inclusionary zoning strategy” works and the number of units it has produced in the past, as well as future projections and determined that, at most 38,400 units could be built through 2025, but a more likely scenario is the construction of between 17,000 and 24,000 units.”

And the report by the Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs:

“States that a key problem with New Jersey’s method for providing affordable housing is that developers must agree that such incentives as density bonuses — the construction of more units in exchange for designating 20 percent of the total as affordable — make it worth their while to build so-called Mount Laurel units.”

The Nassau Capital Advisors reported that:

“A more likely scenario is the construction of between 17,000 and 24,000 units” can be created over the next 10 years.”

Countering,

“Kevin Walsh, Fair Share’s executive director, said the practicality of the task of providing needed housing is not at issue. He said the Nassau report ‘contributed an absolutely irrelevant claim that the housing obligations we have calculated cannot be met in 10 years. But that is not what the law requires — and zoning lasts for more than a decade.’”

“Walsh called Econsult’s report ‘as offensive and alarming as they come.’ He charged the league with seeking to exclude the disabled from the calculation of affordable housing need. And he criticized the report’s conclusion that Kinsey’s estimate should be reduced by 76,000 because that is the number of extremely low-income households — those at just 20 percent of the median income level — who would not be able to afford the privately built units anyway.”

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in the State of New Jersey, 26% of renter households have extremely low income, the housing wage to afford a 2-bedroom apartment is $25.17.

“At a time when nearly 900,000 New Jersey households — nearly one in four households in our state — pay an unsustainably large portion of their income on housing, the League has offered only further tactics designed to exclude families from our state’s many opportunities.”

Said Walsh.

Click here for the full NJ Spotlight article.

Click here for more about Fair Share’s Calculations.

Click here for the NJ League of Municipalities reports.