Fair Share Housing Center

Our Advocacy

  • Defending Mount Laurel

    Today, although the Mount Laurel Doctrine is the nation’s strongest statewide affordable housing policy, there is a strong and concerted effort in New Jersey, grounded in racial and economic discrimination and NIMBYism, to undermine the Doctrine and reduce or even eliminate municipal fair share housing obligations. Fair Share Housing Center works to prevent the push-back by monitoring and challenging municipalities that attempt to circumvent fair share requirements. In its media campaigns, partnerships with faith-based and grass-roots community groups, litigation and advocacy work, FSHC focuses public attention on the moral and legal underpinning of New Jersey’s housing policy and the positive achievements that rebut the NIMBY attacks.

  • Transit-Oriented Development

    New Jersey has long been a leader in affordable housing law and transit-oriented development (TOD). But rarely have the two efforts been coordinated. As a result, costly commutes clog the roads and pollute the air, because low- and moderate-income workers are unable to find housing near their work. Fair Share Housing Center’s TOD project focuses intensely on municipalities along key rail lines that will soon receive direct service into New York City due to a new transit tunnel under the Hudson River. In the past several years, our work has led to requirements for more than a thousand new affordable homes near transit that, but for our work, would not exist.

  • Coordinated Regional Planning

    Historically, Mount Laurel obligations have been assigned on the municipal level. Fair Share Housing Center pioneered the concept that in areas of the state where there are regional planning entities that supersede the traditional “home rule” structure of government, those obligations should be met on a regional level. The concept grew out of our successful 2007 litigation against the 14-municipality New Jersey Meadowlands District, which led to a requirement that a regional master plan be created to incorporate the Meadowland District’s affordable housing needs. The Legislature in 2008 expanded these requirements to cover four other regional areas throughout the state.

  • Very Low Income Housing

    As part of the comprehensive housing reform passed last year, New Jersey adopted the nation’s first law requiring every municipality to provide some amount of housing affordable to very low-income people (below 30 percent of median income, or roughly $23,000 a year for a family of four). The new law marks a major victory for Fair Share Housing Center, which fought for this change for years, and requires that at least 13 percent of a municipality’s housing obligation be affordable to very low-income people.

  • Bill A-500

    Under the Mount Laurel Doctrine, all towns in New Jersey have to provide their fair share of the region’s need for affordable housing. A loophole to that policy was enacted as part of the 1985 Fair Housing Act, which allowed Regional Contribution Agreements (RCAs) to be used to transfer up to half of a wealthy town’s affordable housing obligation to a poor town. Under the legislation that was signed on July 17, 2008, RCAs going forward have been abolished. This historic legislation closes the primary loophole that towns used to avoid providing affordable housing.