Housing Advocates Decry Murphy Administration Diversion of $46M From Rental Assistance, Housing and Homeless Assistance

Murphy Administration Defends Raid and Ensures Human Services Will House Vulnerable New Jerseyans

Last week, NJBiz reported that over 100 nonprofit community developers and housing advocates, including Monarch Housing, sent a letter this week to the Murphy Administration and members of the New Jersey General Assembly. The letter shared their collective concern about the diversion of $46 million in Affordable Housing Trust Fund money away from the production of affordable housing.

The Affordable Housing Trust Fund is relied on as a funding source for the State Rental Assistance Program and housing and homeless prevention services. Governor Chris Christie’s administration is 2015, tried to divert the Affordable Housing Trust Fund money to the state’s General Fund. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund is funded through the realty transfer fees on home sales.

“Staci Berger, president and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, cited New Jersey as No. 1 in foreclosures, the top state for millennials still living at home and the seventh most expensive place in the nation to rent a home.”

“These are homes the residents of our state need and want,” Berger said. “The practice of diverting funds over the last decade has been an albatross on our housing market which is why it’s disappointing to see this practice continue. Our economy cannot thrive when people cannot afford to live here. Gov. Murphy and legislators can turn things around by using the Fund as intended and make the investment that helps make New Jersey a more affordable place we can all call home.”

On May 18, 2018, NJ Advance Media for NJ.Com reported that “New Jersey’s lieutenant governor this week defended the Murphy administration’s multi-million-dollar raid of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund as one of the “impossible choices” it confronted in shaping its first state budget.” Sheila Oliver serves as both Governor Murphy’s lieutenant governor and commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. According to Oliver, the diverted funding will “instead fund housing of vulnerable populations through the Department of Human Services.”

“With the election of Governor Murphy, there was widespread anticipation that funding for construction and rehabilitation would return to pre-Christie era levels,” she said.

“It was certainly a priority for the incoming administration. However, the magnitude of the budget mess that has been left behind by the previous administration was not previously known. We have a fiscal disaster that must be repaired.”

Governor Murphy’s administration maintains that it will still have money to create the affordable housing that New Jersey desperately needs.

“Oliver said the department still has $9 million to develop housing for low- and moderate-income residents and she anticipates it will be able to build 5,500 new housing units next year.”

“This first budget is a down payment and a promise of a higher economic forecast that will enable us to support the new affordable development that is so badly needed around the state,” she said.

NjBiz Article

NJ.com article

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