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NAACP and FSHC urge Jersey City Council to Vote Against Elimination of Obligation for 87 Affordable

Posted by Kevin Walsh on April 25th 2018

The Jersey City council is scheduled tonight to consider lifting an 87-unit obligation to develop affordable homes from a developer who has received enormous benefits from the city. The NJ State Conference of the NAACP Housing Committee and Fair Share Housing Center oppose this proposal. The NAACP and FSHC urge the council to withhold a decision tonight, to provide information regarding the decision and why the affordable homes may be eliminated, and to consider options under than the total elimination of the requirement to provide affordable homes.

Mike McNeill, chair of the NJ NAACP Housing Committee, said, “We know that gentrification and the rising cost of housing are harming lower-income families and others in Jersey City. It would be irresponsible for the council to vote so quickly to eliminate the obligation and allow the developer to provide no affordable homes. The council members have an obligation to consider the needs of all of their constituents and should hesitate before they give something worth so much to a developer who claims that it can’t provide the affordable homes we need.”

Kevin Walsh, Executive Director of Fair Share Housing Center, said, “Developers make more money when they don’t include affordable homes, so it isn’t a surprise that a developer would try to avoid providing affordable homes. But the council shouldn’t go along with this deal. Losing 87 affordable homes in a 432-unit development is a catastrophe. All efforts, including finding other subsidies if needed, should be explored before Jersey City gives in here. Voting for this proposal is voting for unrestrained gentrification without any counterbalance to help longtime residents of Jersey City.”

The NJ NAACP Housing Committee and FSHC request that the city council not act on the proposal tonight and instead find a way to create affordable homes in this development in a way that is affordable to all.

The elimination of affordable homes when the development was approved with affordable homes also should lead the developer to return to the land use board with jurisdiction. “I don’t see how a development can lose 87 affordable homes in late April and start construction in May. That isn’t consistent with the law requiring public participation in land use decisions,” Walsh said.