Creation of Tiny Homes Could Help Increase Available Affordable Housing
New Jersey lawmakers are looking to solve the housing crisis by advancing a bill that could create tiny homes. On Monday, June 25, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee approved S-177, which will create a $5 million “Tiny Home Pilot Project.”
Overseen by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, the project will award funds to one or two municipalities in each of the north, central, and southern parts of the state in order to construct houses no bigger than 300 square feet. This size of a tiny home is comparable to a large recreational vehicle.
The tiny homes will be available for rent to people who earn less than 30 percent of the area median. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) , the New Jersey’s state median income is $19,950/year.
Senator Brian Stack (D-Hudson), a sponsor of the bill, said, “This is something that I think is really an out-of-the box-idea. I think it is really taking the homeless issue on, being as creative as we possibly can be in this state.”
This is the second time this bill has been raised. In December 2016, the bill was rejected by the Senate Budget Committee. This time around, the bill will go directly to the floor of the upper house and not to the budget committee.
Municipalities are incentivized to join the “Tiny Home Pilot Project,” as they will earn two credits toward fulfilling their affordable housing obligations for each tiny house they construct. Under the Supreme Court’s Mount Laurel doctrine, all communities have a certain number of credits they must reach.
Last March, a state Superior Court judge calculated that New Jersey needs to build nearly 155,000 affordable homes through 2025 in order to address the current housing crisis.
The project also aims to help the residents of the tiny homes in other ways.
According to Perry Shaw, chairman of the Mercer County Reentry Task Force, ““This bill will be the foundation that we can build off of to provide a host of wraparound services that include training, counseling and assistance with employment. These services will not only benefit the individuals but their families and the communities they reside in.”
If you are passionate about providing affordable housing in New Jersey, you should attend the July 25th, a Congressional Reception will be held at the Dirksen Senate Auditorium in Washington D.C. This event will allow New Jersey residents who are working poor, below the poverty line and or impacted by homelessness to urge their elected officials in Washington to make No Cuts to Housing and remind them that Oportunity Starts at Home.
We know that by joining together and amplifying our voices, we can have an impact on the decisions that are made in Washington DC. Join Monarch Housing Associates and our 35 partners from New Jersey to make the case that homelessness is solvable a problem. The federal government must be a full partner in ensuring an adequate breadth of services are available to prevent children, people with disabilities, the elderly, and all of our neighbors in NJ from experiencing the homelessness.
Register today to attend the Congressional Reception. Everyone needs to register even if you are traveling on your own.
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