New Jersey plays catch-up on affordable housing
A national study finds the supply of affordable housing in New Jersey is insufficient, with 33 available units for every 100 low-income renter households.
There is a shortage of 217,640 affordable and available rental homes for the 301,079 extremely low income renter households in New Jersey, according to "The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes" released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey.
The report shows how difficult it is for Jersey's low-income renters to find homes that are affordable in the current rental market.
"The bad news is that there is this large gap and we have people paying over half their income for housing that's unaffordable," said Arnold Cohen, of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey.
"We're talking about a family of four, working full time, but yet earning under $30,000 a year. Almost three quarters of that population are paying over half their income for rent. It leaves very little left over for the necessities of life — your transportation, clothes, food, shelter and food on your table."
Cohen says the last budget from Gov. Phil Murphy and the current proposed budget addresses funding for affordable housing increases in the state.
"The good news is that the state is taking direct action to start to address this. It's going to take a while, but at least we're moving in the right direction," Cohen said.
"For the first time in 10 years, New Jersey is using its dedicated money — dedicated for affordable housing — for affordable housing."
According to Cohen, money that should have been directed toward affordable housing was misdirected in previous administrations.
"It basically went to fill in gaps in the general budget during the end of the Corzine administration and throughout the Christie administration," he said.
Joe Cutter is the senior news anchor on New Jersey 101.5