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Affordable Housing

News about affordable housing

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and state Sen. Ron Rice Guest Columnists Asbury Park Press

When Newark resident Yanira Cortes’ landlord refused to address the crumbling ceiling, rats, roaches and mold plaguing her family in their rental home, she exerted her legal right to withhold her rent. Her landlord consequently brought multiple eviction proceedings against her.

Even though the court continually found in her favor, Yanira’s name was made available to nationwide tenant screening agencies that landlords use to evaluate potential tenants. As a result, Yanira has been effectively blacklisted from housing simply because she fought for her family. By trying to hold her landlord accountable, she unknowingly acquired an irremovable black mark on her record. She has been branded a “bad” tenant — no other landlord will rent to her, and she can’t find an affordable, safe place for her family to live.

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Colleen O'Dea | October 12, 2017

Housing is more than shelter: It’s a vital component in the health, growth, and economic wellbeing of the Garden State

New Jersey’s next governor faces daunting housing problems that are widespread and complex, ranging from a lack of affordable homes in walkable communities to a glut of McMansions in suburbs that are no longer in vogue — and little available land on which to fix the imbalance, a new report warns.

The fifth in The Fund for New Jersey’s “Crossroads NJ” series of reports aimed at informing public debate during this election year has a long title that sums up a good portion of the state’s housing problems: “Communities of Opportunity: New Jerseyans Need More Affordable, Convenient, and Safe Places to Call Home.” (The organization is a funder of NJ Spotlight.)

“There are just simply not the resources available to build the homes that we need and the reason for that is a completely out-of-balance housing market,” said Staci Berger, president and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. “There’s lot of development that builds very large homes for very wealthy people but does not build starter homes and homes that are available for working families, seniors, and people with disabilities. And we certainly have a huge problem with the availability of rental apartments that families can move into.”

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 N.J. shifts affordable housing funds beyond state's inner cities

By Ted Sherman,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , NJ Advance Media for

TRENTON--New affordable housing in New Jersey has long been planted, in large part, in communities where there are poor people.

But in a major change, the Christie Administration has begun steering more funding for low-income projects beyond just the urban neighborhoods of the state's largest cities.

Earlier this summer, the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency awarded $39.8 million in tax credits for low-income housing projects, earmarking 60 percent of those funds for proposed developments beyond Newark and Camden, officials said.

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Legislating Against Blacklisting to Help Tenants Find Better Housing

Landlords deny that it’s done, but tenants who withhold rent to protest unhealthy living conditions often can’t find another place to live

Blacklist building
The Pueblo City building that Yanira Cortes says is infested with rats and other vermin.

Yanira Cortes hits play and her phone displays a video of the wood-floored hallway of her Newark apartment. After a few seconds, a large brown rat scurries across the floor from one corner of the hall into an open doorway.

“My 9-year old daughter shot that at 3:45 in the morning,” says Cortes, a mother of four kids who range in age from 2 to 12. “She’s up because she’s afraid to sleep with the rats … I check them every morning for rat bites.”

This is just one problem she has faced in her federally subsidized two-bedroom apartment in the Pueblo City building; there have been problems with the heat and a leaky bathroom ceiling that brought mold. While moving would be difficult financially, Cortes has tried to secure another rental, only to fail the background check.

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In a May 9, 2017 New York Times article, “How Home-ownership Became the Engine of American Inequality,” Matthew Desmond examines the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID), its benefits to wealthy and upper middle-class homeowners and the plight of low income renters in the Boston area and across America.

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