NJ Supreme Court Rules Towns Must Account for ‘Gap Period’ and Create More Affordable Homes
On January 18, 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that municipalities must meet their fair housing obligations for the “gap period.”
This is major victory for low and moderate-income New Jersyans and those with special needs.
The Housing Community Development Network of New Jersey and the Fair Share Housing Center lead the fight include the gap period in all fair share housing plans.
“Shovels are already in the ground to build more homes for New Jersey families,” said Kevin Walsh, Executive Director of the Fair Share Housing Center. “This decision clears away one of the main obstacles remaining in the fight for fair housing in New Jersey. The towns who were fighting in court are outside the mainstream and now know that they will not be rewarded for further obstruction and delay.”
The Court’s decision affirms the commitment each community must make, including the accumulation of housing obligations during the last 16-year gap, to address the very real housing needs of people living in New Jersey.
The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network)’s President and Chief Executive Officer Staci Berger issued the following statement:
“The need for affordable homes in this state has grown tremendously over the last two decades coinciding with a recession, a foreclosure crisis, and a devastating natural disaster. Our hardworking families, seniors and people with disabilities have struggled to find homes they could afford during this time. New Jerseyans and their needs did not simply disappear during the gap period and as the Court ruled, they cannot be ignored.
“We are glad the court recognized that all communities must address the real housing needs of NJ. Too many of our residents are struggling to make ends meet which has hurt our economy. Having an affordable home allows people to spend more on activities that spur the economy and strengthen our communities. We can’t build a thriving NJ if our residents can’t afford to live here. In wake of this decision, we urge our elected official and future leaders to make the investments needed to help make our communities more affordable for all.”
On behalf of the Network, I’d like personally thank you for submitting letters to the editor to your local paper. You helped make a difference! We are so grateful for your efforts and look forward to continue working with you on making New Jersey an affordable place everyone can call home.”
“This ruling is a victory for lower-income and minority families across New Jersey,” said Colandus “Kelly” Francis, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fair Share Housing Center and Vice President of the Camden County Branch of the NAACP. “This ruling means that thousands of lower-income and minority families will be given the opportunity to live in safe neighborhoods, send their children to good schools, and work at jobs where they live instead of traveling hours commuting each day. We fight to end discrimination in housing and zoning because the exclusion of so many harms our whole state, especially African American and Latino communities.”
The Network thanks everyone who submitted letters to the editor to your local paper – the letters made a difference.