Anderson shares a hopeful message that “After more than 15 years of gridlock in Trenton, help is finally coming to central New Jersey residents who have been struggling with finding and keeping affordable homes.”
New Jersey’s affordable homes crisis is getting worse. Low-income and working families struggle to afford homes while still recovering in the wake of the great recession and battling the risk of foreclosures.
Many Union County low-income households who cannot afford housing include individuals with disabilities and seniors.
Writes Anderson, “Many homes and apartments are too expensive to live in when located in suburban communities. This pricing crisis limits families from accessing good schools and employment opportunities located in these communities.”
In New Jersey, the state Supreme Court upheld the state’s fair housing laws by issuing a unanimous decision supporting the Mount Laurel doctrine. The Mount Laurel Doctrine requires that New Jersey’s cities and towns do their “fair share” to both preserve and build new homes that working families can afford.
Anderson tells of affordable housing success stories in the Union County towns of Berkeley Heights, Clark, Fanwood, New Providence, Roselle Park, Springfield and Summit. These Union County towns have adopted housing plans to create a total of more than 2,000 homes.
Writes Anderson, “The plans focus on revitalizing the county’s historic downtown areas, increasing transit access and promoting the redevelopment of vacant office parks, strip malls and industrial centers into vibrant new communities.”
Anderson thanks the leadership in New Jersey’s courts and legislature. “More than 100 municipalities across the state have reached agreements to satisfy obligations to build or restore more than 32,000 homes … Construction has already begun to implement these settlements and get some of New Jersey neediest families into permanent homes, including in Cherry Hill and Woodbridge.”
HomeFirst has been doing its “homework” for years and knows what working families in Union County need for housing.
Concludes Anderson, “We need to continue building on these successes by supporting the legal process currently underway in courtrooms across New Jersey to assign housing obligations to municipalities and to set out clear plans for getting additional homes built.
That is the only way we will be able to make our Constitution’s goal of fair housing a reality. And the only way we will finally tackle the housing affordability crisis.”