Widespread Support for Using Affordable Housing Trust Fund Solely as Intended
Most New Jerseyans See Cost of Housing as Serious Problem in the Garden State


To read the full report, go to: http://eagletonpoll.rutgers.edu/NJ-housing-affordability-June2018.

New Jerseyans across the board want the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to be used solely for building affordable homes, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll in collaboration with the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey.

When told that this funding has been used to pay for other programs in the state budget in recent years instead of for its original intention, 79 percent of residents say it should be used solely for the latter. Just 16 percent feel the state government should be able to use these funds for other purposes, and 5 percent are unsure. Using the funds for their original intention has about the same high level of support among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, alike. Read the full report here.

“For as long as we have been polling, New Jerseyans have largely supported state programs and funding related to affordable housing construction, availability, and rehabilitation,” said Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “It comes as no surprise that residents want to see their money used where promised here, especially given their overarching concerns about housing costs nowadays.”

“This poll shows what our members see every single day in their neighborhoods. So many families, seniors, and people with disabilities can’t find homes they can afford, and they are deeply worried about their ability to afford to live here,” said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. “The legislature and the governor need to invest in the future of our state by fully funding the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, so that nonprofit community developers can create the affordable homes our residents need. Voters clearly want our elected officials to do the right thing with these funds and spend them as intended, so everyone can afford to call New Jersey ‘home.’”

New Jerseyans do not take the issue of housing affordability lightly. Almost all residents believe the cost of housing in New Jersey is a “somewhat” (35 percent) or “very” (51 percent) serious problem. How difficult New Jerseyans think it is to find reasonably priced housing in the state follows a similar overall pattern: 49 percent feel it is “very” difficult, and another 38 percent say “somewhat” difficult. About three-quarters of residents worry “a lot” (44 percent) or “some” (31 percent) about being able to afford housing in New Jersey; 24 percent, on the other hand, say they “hardly worry at all.”

Nevertheless, when it comes to their own financial situation, 14 percent of New Jerseyans say their monthly housing costs are “very affordable,” and another 49 percent say they are “somewhat affordable.” Over a third, on the other hand, feel their costs are either “not very affordable” (24 percent) or “not affordable at all” (11 percent).

Most New Jerseyans are homeowners. Sixty-seven percent say that they own a house; 8 percent rent a house. Seventeen percent rent an apartment, and another 3 percent rent a room in a house or apartment. Five percent live with a relative or friend rent-free. Key demographic differences persist in ownership versus renting.

Results are from a statewide poll of 704 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from April 26 to May 4, 2018. The sample has a margin of error of +/-4.3 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish. Read the full report with demographic breakdowns and graphics here.