Key Accomplishments Since 2000
With limited resources and a staff of three attorneys, FSHC has transformed New Jersey’s affordable housing and land use policies in an effort to give low-income families the chance to move to high-opportunity towns with good jobs and top-notch schools. Key recent accomplishments include:
- Successfully challenged Council on Affordable Housing Third Round rules, which more than doubled the statewide obligation to 115,000 homes over the next 10 years for very low-income, low-income and moderate-income New Jerseyans.
- Played a central role in shaping the first set of amendments to NJ’s Fair Housing Act, which has been hailed as the nation’s most important housing reform legislation in 20 years and provides the nation’s strongest housing requirements for very low-income and low-income families. The new law, passed in the summer of 2008, guarantees housing opportunities for the first time to very low-income families (those earning less than $23,000 a year) and prevents wealthy towns from transferring their housing obligations to poor cities through a practice called Regional Contribution Agreements—changes that Fair Share Housing Center spurred through several years of policy work and litigation, in partnership with key community organizations.
- Successfully challenged the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s assertion that Meadowlands area development was exempt from Mount Laurel requirements, leading to new requirements for some 4,000 affordable homes as part of Meadowlands redevelopment, including several hundred already under construction.
- The inclusion of thousands of affordable homes in specific development plans throughout the state—particularly those located near public transit. Agreements have been reached every year for the last five years producing, on average, several hundred affordable homes each year, in specific developments throughout the state from Cherry Hill to Secaucus. We are particularly focused on opportunities for development near transit.
Going forward, Fair Share Housing Center’s main goal is to ensure that these victories translate into more housing opportunities on the ground for very low-income families, as part of a broader shift towards more inclusive land use development in New Jersey. Too often throughout New Jersey’s three-decade history as a national leader in housing policy, major victories go unenforced as recalcitrant municipalities carve loopholes into the law. Today, there is a broad base of popular support for more affordable housing in New Jersey that has not existed in the past. However, many towns are already moving to try to block the implementation of several recent changes, seeking exceptions and regulatory loopholes to the new requirements for 115,000 homes statewide and legislation that would roll back many recent gains. We seek to not only beat back these attempts, but also to proactively use the new laws to produce significant numbers of affordable homes in high-opportunity communities with good access to schools and jobs.