Out of Reach Report Ranks NJ as 6th Most Expensive State Leaving Housing Un-affordable for Many
In New Jersey, the report was jointly released with the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network.)
In order to afford a modest two-bedroom home in the Garden State, a family must earn an hourly wage of $27.31, far more than the state’s average hourly wage of $17.86 or the $8.44 minimum wage.
“Home rental costs are steadily increasing each year and when you factor in other expenses like groceries and utilities, it’s a struggle for countless New Jersey residents,” said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network). “Our housing market is like a car dealership that only sells Maserati cars and only a handful of Ford Fiestas. We need more variety so that all our residents can afford to call NJ home. We can’t Build a Thriving New Jersey if our elected officials don’t make investments that help create a balanced housing market.”
- As the Fair Market Rent (FMR) in the state for a two-bedroom rental is $1,420/month, a family must earn $56,810 annually to make it affordable.
- Using that formula, a minimum wage worker would have to work 129 hours per week year-round to be able to afford a two-bedroom home at FMR.
Housing advocates urge state officials to endorse “Build a Thriving New Jersey .” The campaign calls on the next leaders of the state to invest $600 million annually into homes residents can afford.
The Network launched the “Build a Thriving New Jersey” campaign to boost the state’s economy through a plan that creates affordable home opportunities and jobs for NJ residents.
The State previously invested in ten community development programs but over the last decade much of the funding has been diverted or abandoned. Several of the programs that housing advocates say will help “Build a Thriving NJ” include:
- the Affordable Housing Trust Fund,
- the State Rental Assistance Program,
- the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program (NRTC),
- Lead Poisoning Prevention and Weatherization, and
- Homeless Service Programs.
The Network released the report during an event at a multi-family home developed by Jersey City based nonprofit, Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation (GSECDC). Participants in the event included GSECDC Director of Housing and Community Development John Restrepo, City of Jersey City Deputy Mayor Marcos Vigil, City of Jersey City Council President Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr. and Councilwoman Joyce Watterman.
“Jersey City has experienced significant investment and development,” said Restrepo. “Working class families are important to the fabric of this community and its diversity. To make sure they are not displaced or suffer from cost burdening, we need to continue to create and increase affordable housing opportunities. Hudson County has the largest percentage of renters in the state and although our organization works hard to meet the demand for affordable homes, resources are limited. We need our elected officials to make investments that will build a thriving New Jersey by creating more affordable home opportunities.”
“We are proud to support the great work of Garden State Episcopal and the Housing and Community Development Network,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. “Together we are building a thriving New Jersey and we’re working to make Hudson County a more affordable place to call home.”
NLIHC is a Washington, D.C. based housing policy organization. The report provides the Housing Wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non-metropolitan area, and county in the country.
“The Out of Reach 2017 data shows why millions of low income renters are struggling to afford their homes. The federal minimum wage has stayed the same since 2009 but the national Housing Wage has increased to $21.21 for a two-bedroom rental home, more than 2.9 times higher than the federal minimum wage and $4.83 higher than the average renter’s wage,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “We have the resources to solve the affordable housing crisis by realigning federal tax expenditures and reinvesting the savings in rental housing programs that serve our nation’s most vulnerable. We lack only the political will to do so.”
On the federal level, advocates are deeply concerned about the drastic cuts proposed in President Trump’s budget.
The President’s budget proposes to slash federal investments in affordable housing at the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by 15%, or $7.4 billion, compared to FY17. The proposed cuts would mean more than 250,000 people could lose their housing vouchers. It would also impose punitive measures that would jeopardize family stability – increasing the financial burdens they face through higher rents and ending support to help cover the cost of basic utilities, like water and heat.
The proposed budget would slash funding for public housing and many other vital programs and eliminate funding for the national Housing Trust Fund, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, and the Community Development Block Grants program.
On July 26, 2017, 350 advocates will travel to Washington, DC for the Congressional Reception. Join us in Washington, DC on Wednesday, July 26 for the Congressional Reception.
The theme will be “No Cuts to Housing.” Cuts are hurting our communities that serve low-income families, the homeless and those with special needs and the proposed cuts provide further and dangerous cuts. Register today to join us in Washington.
The Out of Reach report provides the Housing Wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non-metropolitan area, and county in the country. To gauge affordability, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) uses the widely-accepted measure that no more than 30 percent of a person’s income should be spent on housing.
The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey is the statewide association of more than 250 community development corporations, individuals and other organizations that support the creation of affordable homes, economic opportunities, and strong communities.
Read our prior post on the Union County Candidates Forum to Build a Thriving NJ.