On December 11, 2015, the Asbury Park Press reported shared the success story of Adam Resnick, a 40-year old Barnegat resident who has autism and an intellectual disability. His success story is that he is moving out of his parents’ home and into an affordable apartment.
“Creating such affordable housing, for a broad spectrum of residents, is at the center of a long, convoluted battle in New Jersey, one that is unfurling in the courts as 15 Superior Court judges wrestle over the perennial question: how much affordable housing should each town be required to provide?”
Two New Jersey Shore communities are in the affordable housing debate.
“High stakes weigh on what the courts decide for Ocean and Monmouth counties, not the least being whether those with limited incomes will continue to be able to afford to live at the Shore.”
While local municipalities dispute the demand for new affordable housing in their communities, advocates such as the Fair Share Housing Center push back.
“You look at foreclosures in the state, you look at the issues around (superstorm) Sandy and displaced renters and homeowners and you look at high property values and it’s really clear that there’s a desire and a need for quality affordable housing opportunities.”
Said Anthony Campisi, spokesman for the Fair Share Housing Center.
Some communities across the state fear that affordable housing will bring with it new, poor families. When in reality, affordable housing serves a variety of individuals and families who are from the local community.
“There’s a good deal of protesting to any new construction right now. Right now the biggest battle is in coming up with a realistic number and the second is coming up with realistic opportunities.”
New Jersey has some of the highest rents in the country which makes it very difficult for a variety of populations – the disabled, single parent working families and others – to afford housing.
“In Monmouth and Ocean counties, an individual who makes $51,864 or less is considered moderate-income; those earning less than $32,415 are considered low-income, according to 2014 limits set by the state.”
Adam will live in a three-bedroom unit, the roughly $1,200 monthly rent will be divided with two roommates.
“Without affordable housing, I’m not sure how this would be possible. Affordable housing is a lifeline for families like mine.”
Said Cheryl Crick, Adam’s sister
Unfortunately, the demand outweighs the supply of affordable housing in New Jersey.
“There’s not nearly enough housing production to meet the needs. If we don’t house this population, these are individuals who are not going to go away. If they are not provided housing, what will happen to them?”