Bill Would Help Create More Affordable Housing In NJ

Aired September 17, 2018
By Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are trying again on legislation to help increase the stock of affordable housing in the state.

They propose that towns use their housing trust funds to buy foreclosed residential properties and convert them into affordable housing for double credits toward their affordable housing obligations.

Staci Berger with the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey says it’s a creative solution.

“We have homes that have no people in them and we have an enormous housing crisis of affordability. We simply do not have enough homes that people can afford. So, taking places that don’t have people in them and turning them into places than can have people in them seem like not rocket science. It should be a no-brainer.”

Jeff Kolakowsi with the New Jersey Builders Association says the bill is good public policy.

“It’s about creating a clearing house to try to kind of weed through and get rid of this backlog of foreclosures that we have here in New Jersey. As you may know we have a judicial foreclosure process here in New Jersey that takes an inordinate amount of time. I think on average it’s about 900 days.”

Pete McAleer with the Administrative Office of the Courts says that time frame has dropped and it's now 148 days from complaint to judgement.

Former Governor Chris Christie vetoed similar legislation three times.

Advocates say the state’s slow recovery from the foreclosure crisis is hurting New Jersey’s economy.