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SHA NJ

SHA NJ

The Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey (SHA) is a statewide, nonprofit organization, founded in 1998, whose mission is to promote and maintain a strong supportive housing industry in New Jersey serving people with special needs.

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By Dafna Krouk-Gordon and Barbara D. Jackins. Woodbine House, 2013 | ISBN 978-1-60613-021-6

Reviewed by Marty Rudolph, parent of a 44-year-old daughter with developmental disabilities who is still living at home in South Jersey. | September 2, 2014

With the publication of this unique book, there is hope that we are rounding the corner away from institutions toward community living for citizens with disabilities. Here is both a state of the union compendium of practices and legalities and a D.I.Y. guide for families from two professionals who have lived it for decades.

Nine chapters guide families through the emotional, legal, financial and strategic planning from getting ready through identifying best residential options to moving out and beyond. This is a nuts-and-bolts manual loaded with real-life examples from the authors’ experiences and an exhaustive set of appendices, sample documents and forms.

Clearly there is a focus on creating homes for unique individuals, using those structures currently in place through local, state and federal governments as well as private and personal resources, if available. Living in New Jersey, instead of Massachusetts, means that some regulations and some resources differ for us, requiring extra homework but also opening our eyes to additional pursuits.

Get this book into the hands of families with children of any age who are likely to need supported living. It can be a trail guide. Offer it to agencies, advocates and professionals who work to help people with disabilities live and work in their communities. Give some feedback to the authors too, so they can revise and update this guide regularly as the scope of community living for our family members changes and expands.

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Posted by on in Veterans

The VA has and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have challenged America’s mayors — 13 of them in New Jersey so far — to permanently house homeless vets and give them life-sustaining services by 2015. Watch the video on njtvonline.org

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The Fair Share Housing Center has reported in its press release below, today's decision by the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) to approve $14 Million in municipal housing trust funds, a portion of which will be used for the construction or rehab of housing units for special needs populations. We wholly concur with Kevin Walsh's remarks which acknowledge COAH moving forward with these approvals and urging the Council to continue this important work with many more projects statewide that remain in limbo. SHA also views this development in a positive light. We remain hopeful that more and more people of low and moderate income will have access to affordable homes over the next years as COAH continues to do its job.     —Gail Levinson, SHA

Council on Affordable Housing Votes Today Start Process of Finding Municipalities Can Spend Housing Trust Funds

From The Fair Share Housing Center

Trenton, NJ - In a meeting held this morning, the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) released housing trust funds held by 13 municipalities totaling $14 million: Cherry Hill, Manasquan, Long Hill, Tinton Falls, Gloucester City, Florence, Randolph, North Caldwell, Summit, Lawrence, Mendham, South Brunswick, and Clifton. The release of the funds will support the construction and rehabilitation of homes throughout the state and begin a process that FSHC anticipates will result in a substantial majority of over $160 million once at risk being approved for use by municipalities and non-profit organizations.
 
"This is a good start that will result in homes in 13 municipalities being available to lower-income families, seniors, and people with special needs," said Kevin D. Walsh, Associate Director of Fair Share Housing Center. "Throughout the state, there will be new homes, and existing homes will be improved. We are pleased to see that the state has started this process and look forward to this moving forward so that money needed to build homes for lower-income New Jerseyans is available."
 
The released funds, which COAH has found are committed for expenditure and green-lighted to be used in the ways proposed by municipalities, support a variety of projects including:
 
• $3 million to South Brunswick, where Foxchase Development is working with The Rose House and New Bridge Services, organizations that serve the developmentally disabled community
•  $1.3 million to Tinton Falls to assist Fox Chase II, a section of Fox Chase, an inclusionary development, with a deed extension program, affordability assistance, and capital repairs for failing decks on the affordable units.
•  $1.5 million to Randolph for its work with Morris Habitat for Humanity for development of approximately 25 "for sale" affordable units on a 2.5-acre property owned by the Township and to be donated to Habitat as well as funds for new construction and affordability assistance for affordability assistance to be administered by Habitat.
• $403,747 to Long Hill for health and safety improvements at Lounsberry Meadow, which is an existing facility for seniors and the developmentally disabled. Proposed expenditures include an emergency electric generator and ADA improvements.
• $348,726 to North Caldwell for the Hilltop Redevelopment project.
• $600,000 to Summit in support of the municipality's Housing Rehabilitation Program
• $666,759 to Gloucester Township for the future development of age-restricted affordable housing.
•  $867,839 to Clifton to support the development of two special needs group homes.
•  $48,557 to Mendham to aid Mendham Area Senior Housing (MASH) in providing rental subsidies to very low and low income households.
 
The funds approved today as being committed for expenditure were reviewed by COAH under a 2008 law that is intended to ensure that municipalities spend funds entrusted to them within four years. For the past two years, the state, after initially threatening to take all available funds and including them in the general fund, failed to move forward with the seizure. Today's vote concludes the process as to those 13 municipalities. More than $140 million in additional funds remain to be reviewed by the agency in future meetings.
 
"While this is a good start, it is important to see what happens next," said Walsh. "We know that there is $14 million that has been protected and we want to know that more decisions will be made soon to get more funding out the door so it can be used."
 
Kevin D. Walsh, Esq.


Fair Share Housing Center


510 Park Boulevard
Cherry Hill, New Jersey  08002


P:  856-665-5444


F: 856-663-8182

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

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Posted by on in Veterans

Urge Your Mayor to Sign On in Support!

From The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has launched the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, an initiative aimed at building a national coalition of mayors and other public officials committed to ending veteran homelessness in their cities by the end of 2015. At the present, only nine NJ mayors have signed on in support. New Jersey can do better!

Homelessness has increased nearly 16 percent from 2013 to 2014, all mayors in our state should join in this effort to ensure that by the end of 2015, no veterans in New Jersey will be homeless.

Talk to your mayor and urge them to accept the challenge. Once they agree, all they need to do is:
Let HUD, USICH, and the VA know that they're committed by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Tell the public! Send out a press release; or hold a press conference or their own twitter town hall; or any other way they communicate with their constituencies.
 
More information about the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness can be found on HUD's website or by clicking here.

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SHA looks forward to working with the Department of Human Services' new Office of Housing to achieve more opportunities across populations and to expand the housing stock and supports for those on low incomes living with special needs. Together we hope to problem solve, find creative solutions and work collaboratively toward common goals. — Gail Levinson, Executive Director, SHA


From Liz Shea, Assistant Commissioner, NJDHS, Division of Developmental Disabilities:

Medicaid Fee for Service Implementation
 
Following the release of the Final Rate Report and Rate Schedule on July 18th, the Division has received numerous requests for information and further clarification about the rates and the intended rollout of the Medicaid-based Fee for Service (FFS) System. At this time, it is expected that the Division’s final transition from a contracted reimbursement system to a Medicaid-based fee-for-service (FFS) model will be implemented in 2015.
 
Steps toward that implementation have already begun, and we are developing a FFS Implementation timeline and other materials to assist stakeholders in understanding the various phases of the transition. Visit our Fee for Service Implementation web page, where new information will be posted by the end of August, or email questions or concerns to our dedicated Fee for Service Help Desk at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Housing
 
Many individuals, families and providers have expressed concern about accessing housing in the Division’s new fee-for-service Medicaid model. In that model, the Division plays a major role in facilitating community-based housing by funding, through its Medicaid waivers, the Medicaid-eligible services that are necessary to support individuals in the community.
 
I am pleased to tell you that, in accordance with national trends and best practices in separating housing and services, and in promoting cross-disability housing, the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) established the DHS Office of Housing (OH), effective July 1, 2014. In collaboration with the divisions of DHS, the OH will develop and implement housing policy for DHS, as well as oversee the day to day housing activities of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Division of Developmental Disabilities. In addition, the responsibilities of the Office of Housing, which is being led by Janel Winter, will include:
 
· identifying housing priorities, models and innovations for people served by DHS
· developing and growing partnerships with state agencies including the state housing agency – the Department of Community Affairs, and the state housing finance agency – the Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency, as well as other public and private partners and all stakeholders
· ensuring a pipeline of affordable housing to meet DHS’s Olmstead obligations and other needs
· education and outreach on supportive and affordable housing for people with disabilities.
 
In FY15, in addition to the ongoing crucial responsibility of ensuring sufficient housing to meet DHS’s Olmstead obligations and other needs (including supporting the closure of the Woodbridge Developmental Center), the OH will pursue two key goals:
 
· Development of a plan for compliance with the new CMS Final Rule on HCBS settings
· Development of a clearinghouse for administration of DHS housing subsidies
 
The following resources will also be launched in the coming months:
 
· A Housing web page on the Division’s website
· A dedicated DHS Housing Help Desk at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
· The Supportive Housing Education Project, which will offer extensive educational and technical assistance resources to individuals and families on mainstream affordable housing resources and ways to pair those resources with DDD’s services available through its Medicaid waivers to create new housing options


Pre-Service Training for Direct Support Professionals
 
In our ongoing effort to improve service quality, the Division is implementing changes to the pre-service training requirements for Direct Support Professionals. Please see the important notice below regarding the Medication Administration training module:
 
Mandatory On-site Competency Assessment
The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities is committed to safe and effective medication administration practices in all settings, and has established new pre-service training guidelines regarding these practices.
 
The Division recognizes that regardless of format – whether classroom or online – the training component alone does not build the necessary skills for the safe administration of medication in community-based settings. Therefore, an on-site competency assessment will be required across the system for all agency staff that are required to administer medications, as follows:  
 
· Effective July 1, 2014

Agencies have the option to either (a) send staff Medication Administration Module classroom training, or (b) complete the Medication Administration module online through the College of Direct Support (CDS). On-site Competency Assessment is mandatory following the completion of CDS online training before agency staff can independently administer medications.
 
· Effective October 1, 2014

On-site Competency Assessment is mandatory following the completion of classroom training before agency staff can independently administer medications.
 
· By June 30, 2015

On-site Competency Assessment is mandatory and must be completed for ALL existing agency staff required to administer medications.

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

A trend that might be food for thought for some in the disability community

For the eight years that she was based in Chicago, Katie Kirby happily lived by herself. When she moved to Manhattan three years ago, there didn't seem to be any reason for a different domestic arrangement, and she contentedly signed on for a one-bedroom on the Upper West Side.
Even so, this past May, she moved to a two-bedroom in North Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with a friend, Jennifer Keene, 40, who works in sports marketing and who had also been living alone.

It's true that money played a role in the decision  .... "But the larger reason is that New York can be kind of a lonely place," she said
 
"It's easy to get settled in one neighborhood or niche and to become less social. There are things you intend to do but talk yourself out of when you live alone. Having a roommate gets me out," added Ms. Kirby, whose social circle has expanded to include Ms. Keene's friends and colleagues. "And it's nice and surprisingly comforting to have someone there when you get home from a business trip."
 
To read the full article click here

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By Star-Ledger Editorial Board

Our state is facing a gut-wrenching dilemma. On one side is a fearful group of parents who are trying to protect their severely developmentally disabled children from being moved out of homes where they’ve lived for decades.

On the other is the Christie administration and respected advocates for the seriously disabled, who are seeking to de-institutionalize people in favor of smaller, community-based services.

The question at stake: Should we bring about 470 disabled people living out of state back to New Jersey, and move hundreds of others being displaced from two closing in-state institutions to smaller, community-based housing?

Click to read the article

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Start Up Funding for Behavioral Health Care Homes
Bergen and Mercer Counties
 
To read the announcement click here

To read the RFP click here

Due Date:
September 15, 2014, no later than 5:00 p.m.

Preliminary Award Announcement:
October 10, 2014

Final Award Notification:   
November 17, 2014

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Colleen O'Dea | NJSpotlight.com | August 14, 2014

Deal with Rutgers consultant was not signed until less than three weeks before court-ordered deadline for adopting housing rules

New Jersey’s contract with a Rutgers University consultant hired to draft proposed affordable- housing rules shows that the state could not have met a court-ordered February 26 deadline for adopting the new regulations.

Read the article at NJSpotlight.com

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From National Low Income Housing Coalition

HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) issued Notice CPD-14-12 on July 28, “strongly encouraging” Continuums of Care (CoCs) to establish priorities for serving various categories of chronically homeless people in CoC Program-funded permanent supportive housing (PSH). The stated goal of the Notice is to ensure that homeless individuals and families with the most severe service needs receive priority. The Notice establishes an order of priority that HUD strongly encourages CoCs to adopt and incorporate into their written standards and coordinated assessment systems. If CoCs adopt the suggested priorities, then they can require recipients of CoC Program-funded PSH to follow the order of priority.
 
The Notice states that there are two significant ways CoCs can work toward ending chronic homelessness using their existing CoC program-funded PSH. One way is to prioritize non-dedicated PSH units for chronically homeless people by giving them admissions preference. The other way is to increase the number of CoC Program-funded PSH units dedicated to chronically homeless people. When a project’s grant agreement dedicates PSH units to chronically homeless people, only they may be served, unless no other client in the CoC programs meets the definition of chronically homelessness. A CoC may increase the number of units dedicated to chronically homeless people when a non-dedicated recipient requests a grant agreement amendment to dedicate units.
 
HUD defines people who have severe service needs to be those who either have a history of frequently using crisis services such as emergency rooms, psychiatric facilities, and jails, or who have significant health or behavioral challenges or functional impairments requiring a high level of support in order to maintain permanent housing.
 
Notice CPD-14-12 suggests four levels of priority for CoC Program-funded PSH that is either dedicated or prioritized:
1. First priority is for those who have severe service needs and who were chronically homeless for at least 12 months, either continuously or on at least four separate occasions that add up to 12 months over the last three years.
2. Second priority is for those who do not have severe service needs, but who were chronically homeless for the above time periods.
3. Third priority is for those who have severe service needs and who were chronically homeless on at least four separate occasions that add up to less than 12 months over the last three years.
4. Fourth priority is for those who do not have severe service needs, but who were chronically homeless for at least 12 months, either continuously or on at least four separate occasions that add up to less than 12 months over the last three years.
 
The order of priority for CoC Program-funded PSH that is not dedicated or prioritized is:
1. First priority is for individuals or families with a member with a disability and severe service needs, and who were homeless for any length of time, including those who are exiting an institution where they lived for 90 days or less but who were homeless before entering the institution.
2. Second priority is for individuals or families with a member with a disability who were homeless either continuously for six months or on at least three separate occasions that add up to six months over the last three years. This includes those exiting an institution where they lived for 90 days or less, but who were homeless either continuously for six months or on at least three separate occasions that add up to six months over the last three years before entering the institution.
3. Third priority is for individuals or families with a member with a disability who are homeless, including those exiting an institution where they lived for 90 days or less, but who were homeless before entering the institution.
4. Fourth priority is for individuals and families with a member with a disability who are:
a. Coming from transitional housing, but who were homeless before living in transitional housing.
b. Fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking who are living in transitional housing, even if they were not homeless before entering transitional housing.
 
Notice CPD-14-12 can be found here:
https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/Notice-CPD-14-012-Prioritizing-Persons-Experiencing-Chronic-Homelessness-in-PSH-and-Recordkeeping-Requirements.pdf

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NJ's disabled are safe to live among us: Opinion

By Valerie Sellers, CEO, New Jersey Association of Community Providers | Letter to the Editor of the Star Ledger

As CEO of the New Jersey Association of Community Providers, I have too often read articles that state it is horrifically dangerous for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live within our communities, and that the only true place these individuals can be safe is within a developmental center, also known as an institution.

This position has been espoused almost routinely when discussions about closing developmental centers occurs or if there is a tragic event that results in the harm or death of someone living within a group home.

If harm to those residing in the community was imminent, then one must wonder how more than 27,000 people with these disabilities have managed to live rich and full lives in communities such as yours and mine; they are our neighbors and co-workers. They take walks through a park, go to the movies, travel to the Shore, among many other activities. They are given an opportunity to move beyond four walls and truly enjoy life.

I do not doubt that those concerned for the safety of these individuals living within the community genuinely believe this to be the case. In fact, with the media mostly covering extraordinary events, it’s not surprising that people with little or no experience with group homes and services for people in the community lack an understanding of why individuals are encouraged to live within a community.

What should be considered is that there are risks inherent in all of our lives. People die within the developmental centers as all people do within the community or while residing with their families. It is not due to the fact that individuals cannot receive the same services they receive in an institution.

People can receive services that meet their unique needs, including medically complex ones that require 24/7 nursing care, occupational, physical and speech therapy and any other services people need.

Finally, those working within group homes, known as direct support professionals, go through extensive training including six “critical” areas such as preventing abuse and neglect, medication administration and first aid.

They are given an opportunity to move beyond four walls and truly enjoy life.

Focusing on sensational stories gives rise to anger and hysteria that is not reflective of the truth. Instead, given the national trend is focusing on institutional closure, with 11 states not operating any large, state-run institutions, focus could be on what has been accomplished in the community.

What you don’t read or hear about are the transformations of individuals once they become members of a “family” within their group home — for example, becoming verbal for the first time in decades. What is even more rewarding is the pride people take in their accomplishments, many of which most people could not even imagine facing on a day-to-day basis.

For instance, the Barry twins, Pamela and Donna, lived in developmental centers for more than 50 years since they were 3. In the beginning the twins’ parents were not in favor of moving into the community until they explored all their options.

Both daughters use wheelchairs for mobility and have medical challenges, but, according to their parents, they are flourishing in the community and interacting for the first time during different community events such as dances. Their parents said the girls are “coming out of their shells” and they “cannot say enough good things about community living.”

NJACP just celebrated its 15th annual STARS Awards event, where 24 individuals were honored for overcoming challenges and obstacles to live rich, happy and productive lives. I would note that more than half of the recipients once resided in a developmental center.
So as New Jersey hosts the 2014 Special Olympics this week, please keep in mind that many of those competing once resided in an institution and are now gold, silver and bronze medalists.

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Please be advised of Governor Christie's veto of legislation that would have slowed the process of moving people from NJ Developmental Centers and out of state facilities. SHA continues to encourage community living options for people with disabilities as institutions close, in a manner that provides proper care and services for those living with significant challenges.

Links to articles:

Families angry Christie vetoed, demanded changes to bills determining where disabled people will live
By Susan K. Livio | The Star-Ledger

Following Christie Vetoes, Families of Intellectually Disabled Fearful of Future
By Andrew Kitchenman | NJSpotlight.com

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Senator Cory Booker with Monarch and New Jersey Delegation

By Kate Kelly, Monarch Housing
 
On July 30, 2014, our U.S. Senator Cory Booker gave a keynote at the National Alliance to End Homelessness annual conference. Booker spoke to an audience of over 1700 people including two tables of New Jersey constituents.

At the beginning of his remarks, Booker recognized those from New Jersey in the audience who are working to end homelessness.

Booker framed his argument for ending homelessness as our patriotic duty.

"Love of country means extending a hand to our brothers and sisters."
 
Said Booker.
 
He also empathized the critical importance of data.
 
"In God we trust but, bring me data."

He pointed to New Jersey's recent NJ Counts documented 16% increase in homelessness and that homelessness is a growing problem that we need to solve.
 
"Homelessness is a greater drag on our economy than if we did something about it. Look at the data."

"We have to be those hopeful warriors now. This nation has so much work to do before we achieve the truth of who we are." But he concluded with a message of hope, "Our generation can indeed end homelessness."

March Housing Associates website

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From Tuesday, July 29, 2014 through Tuesday, August 5, 2014 applications will be available for the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Waiting List. Only applications for residents living and/or working in the Passaic County Public Housing Agency service area will be accepted. Their service area includes all of the towns in Passaic County with the exception of Passaic, Paterson and Clifton.
 
There is a Public Notice on their website that has instructions and the list of locations in which the applications will be available.
 
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to call Janice L. DeJohn, Executive Director, Passaic County Public Housing Agency at 973-881-4370

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By David Matthau | New Jersey 101.5 Radio | July 28, 2014

New Jersey is one of the richest states in the nation, but its homeless population continues to increase.

Deb Ellis, Executive Director of the NJ Coalition to End Homelessness, on New Jersey 101.5 radio

It’s important that New Jersey make room for people of more modest means to live in the state as well, according to Ellis.  “We have to speak out as citizens of our communities for more affordable housing for individuals with mental illness or physical disabilities, or other disabilities – as well as affordable housing for families just making modest incomes.”

Read More: High rents, low incomes causing homelessness to grow in NJ | http://nj1015.com/high-rents-low-incomes-causing-homelessness-to-grow-in-nj/?trackback=tsmclip

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By Liz Lempert, Mayor, Princeton NJ | Star Ledger Guest Columnist

New Jersey's Council on Affordable Housing recently issued proposed third-round rules that conclude the municipality of Princeton has zero obligation to build additional affordable housing in our community. Some officials might be thrilled with the news that they have been absolved of any responsibility for addressing the housing needs of the less affluent. But I worry that this apparent free pass comes with serious costs to the health of our community and region.

Click here to read the article

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Finds that other key document appears to have been destroyed

Fair Share Housing Center offers $1000 reward for document “lost” by Christie Administration

In a ruling late Thursday, the Hon. Mary C. Jacobson ordered the Christie Administration to make public its contract with Rutgers University professor Dr. Robert Burchell for creating the state's new fair housing rules. Judge Jacobson also found that a critical document showing how municipal housing obligations were recalculated in a way that reduces those obligations by over 8,000 homes had existed at one time, but had been destroyed. Judge Jacobson issued an order directing one final search of Rutgers University email accounts for the document.
 
"We agree with Judge Jacobson's ruling that the Christie Administration should not have hid from the public what it spent $295,000 of public funds on to produce these deeply flawed new housing rules," FSHC Staff Attorney Adam Gordon said. "It is a grave violation of the public trust for critical documents related to that contract to have been destroyed. We hope that by offering a public reward of $1000 for these destroyed documents someone will step forward and explain to the public what happened here."   
 
The ruling, delivered from the bench late Thursday afternoon after oral argument on the case, requires the Christie Administration and Rutgers to make the contract public and conduct an email search for the destroyed document no later than 4 PM today. The Christie Administration and Rutgers immediately applied for a stay of the ruling so that they could appeal the ruling, and Judge Jacobson denied the stay.
 
Judge Jacobson found that the documents, which describe how the Christie Administration is retroactively attempting to reduce municipal housing obligations from the 1980s and 1990s by over 8,000 homes, did exist at one point. However, the documents have since been destroyed and both the Christie Administration and Rutgers asserted they could not find them in a search. Fair Share Housing Center attorney Kevin Walsh argued to the Court that Rutgers employees had not checked their email, which would be an obvious place the files might be, and Judge Jacobson agreed that an email search was required and gave them 24 hours to conduct it.
 
The $1000 reward will be given to the first person who provides a copy of a computer file or other document showing how the municipal obligations for 1987-1999 were recalculated that includes formulas at the municipal level showing the method by which the changes were made to municipal housing obligations. The reward is not open to employees of the State (including Rutgers) and only will be provided as consistent with any applicable laws (e.g. the person providing the document must have obtained it lawfully). The reward is open until July 31, as comments on the rules proposed by the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) are due August 1.

Read the article on the Fair Share Housing Center’s Blog

Related articles:
The Star-Ledger

NorthJersey.com

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Posted by on in Breaking News

NJ Spotlight Profile: Giving a Voice to Those Who Need, Advocate for Affordable Housing in NJ

Staci Berger is raising visibility for community development and helping reform housing policy

Click here to read the article

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Posted by on in Breaking News

SHA Board Member, Tom Toronto, and Fair Share Housing's Adam Gordon featured in segment on NJTV about proposed COAH rules

Lawsuit Over Affordable Housing Claims Lack of Transparency

Click here for the article and to watch the segment

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Colleen O'Dea | www.NJSpotlight.com | July 3, 2014

Advocates argue regulations do not meet Supreme Court requirements, differ from rules adopted by council earlier in year.

Click here to read the article

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