NJ Counts 2014 Executive Summary

2 commentsadd yours

  1. I am for ending homelessness. I support the efforts of all of the housing advocacy groups and government agencies which focus on ending homelessness and increasing the number of supportive housing units in the state.
    At the same time it appears the major means of both reducing housing costs, ending homelessness is seldom mentioned. Discriminatory zoning and exclusive zoning designed not to create inclusive and diverse communities but to keep the homeless, the poor and people with disabilities out. Until and unless policy changes and zoning changes are made to permit multi-generational homes, multi-family homes in addition to McMansions, on 5 plus acres, the problem of homelessness and the lack of accessible affordable and supportive housing in NJ may not improve.
    We live in Morris County. Our daughter is 29 and needs a wheelchair accessible home or apartment. Truly accessible homes with barrier free entry, 36 inch or wider doors, 36 inch hallways and roll-in shower simply do not exist. The feasibility of modifying the home for full accessibility is limited by both the supporting walls in the existing structure and costs. My daughter prefers to live independently, remain close to family, and remain in the local area. We investigated building a two unit fully accessible ranch home, with separate utilities, to permit our daughter to live next door to mom and dad and in the future next to one of her siblings. Do to zoning restrictions and the highlands act, thus far we have found it impossible to build a two unit accessible 2 bedroom 2 bath accessible ranch with separate utilities in our local area. The square footage of such a home is projected at less than 3000 square feet. While the two unit with a small foot print is not permitted because of zoning and the highlands act, on some of the lots we explored purchasing we could build a single family home with 6 bedrooms, five plus baths and 5,000 plus square feet of living space. Clearly, the zoning has little to do with the environmental impact of the home. Multi-family homes today consist primarily of condo/ apartment developments. Where in NJ today can one build a two or three family home on a quarter acre lot?
    We have also explored transitioning to an “adult community” but although adult communities have many amenities which adults with disabilities could utilize and enjoy, we were not able to find an adult community where our daughter could live in the home next door to us. Many adults with disabilities and their aging parents would prefer to live together or next door to each other as long as possible. Public policy makes this option difficult if not impossible.
    Project based housing vouchers are not an ideal answer. The individual in need of a housing voucher is forced to move to an area he or she is not familiar with and forces individuals to leave their local community, move away from the life and natural supports he or she has in his her local community. Moreover, the person who moves to a project based housing option risks loosing his/her housing voucher if he or she desires to move for whatever reason. In short while addressing a housing need, project based vouchers limit choice, and freedom of movement for individuals and families.
    Until the zoning and public policy issues are addressed more families will move out of NJ to states where the cost of housing is less, taxes are less, and zoning is not as restrictive and exclusionary. The result, a greater tax burden, higher housing costs, and the housing needs of the homeless will continue to be unmet and more individuals and families will be at risk.

Join the conversation!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.