UPDATED FAIR SHARE CALCULATIONS SHOW HOUSING NEED REMAIN GREAT IN NEW JERSEY FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES
Posted by Laura Denker on April 13th 2017
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Fair Share Housing Center has released a new assessment of New Jersey’s fair housing need, finding that municipalities across the state must satisfy obligations of more than 140,000 homes for a period ranging from 1999 through 2015.
Our expert, Dr. David N. Kinsey, prepared the study in response to a unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court decision issued in January that found towns were required to satisfy unmet fair housing obligations that accrued during the 16-year gap period beginning in 1999 when state housing laws were not being properly enforced.
The new study found a total statewide obligation of 146,038 homes, in addition to previously established obligations from 2015 to 2025 which are not affected by this new study. Total statewide need for the entire time period is about 280,000 homes before the imposition of municipal caps. The results are similar to the finding in an earlier study released in 2015 that has been the basis for our negotiations with towns in litigation across New Jersey up to now. This study relies on a more recent and comprehensive analysis.
Our new study utilizes the most up to date data available to highlight New Jersey’s ongoing housing affordability crisis. New Jersey is one the most expensive states in the country. Working families are still recovering from the effects of the recession, the ongoing foreclosure crisis and the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. The Supreme Court’s January ruling affirmed in the strongest terms that towns meet their obligation under the state Constitution to provide quality, affordable homes in communities with good schools and access to jobs. We expect the courts to affirm this study as we work to finally end the systemic exclusion holding back New Jersey’s working families, minority communities, seniors and those with disabilities.
The study satisfies the Supreme Court’s requirements that municipalities meet the needs of families that formed during the gap period and who are still waiting for the opportunity to move into permanent homes they can afford.
The study was submitted Wednesday in Mercer County Superior Court as part of an ongoing trial to determine fair housing need in five municipalities in that county which have not reached settlements establishing their obligations.
Statewide, more than 100 towns have reached agreements with developers, non-profits and civil rights advocates to satisfy obligations totaling more than more than 32,000homes. Towns that have settled include: Mount Laurel, Woodbridge, Toms River, Edison, Bridgewater, Hamilton, Robbinsville and Ewing. They range from small boroughs to large suburban communities.
While the total statewide obligation remains largely the same, some individual towns’ fair housing obligations have increased or decreased.
A clear consensus is developing in municipalities across the state that towns can and should meet their constitutional fair housing obligations. The current process is working. Shovels are already in the ground and new homes are being built to expand opportunities for New Jersey families. This new study demonstrates that we can’t let up. We will press forward to fulfill our Constitution’s promise to these families.
To view a complete copy of the new fair housing report, click here.
To view the spreadsheets which form the basis for Fair Share’s calculations, click here.
Kevin D. Walsh, Executive Director, Fair Share Housing Center