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OpEd

Opinion and editorials

People with disabilities shouldn't have to leave town because they can't afford a home

By Diane Riley

In January, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a, landmark decision affirming that municipalities must meet the need for housing that accrued during a 16-year gap period when New Jersey's fair housing laws weren't being enforced properly.

This unanimous ruling was a giant step forward for tens of thousands of individuals and families who have been waiting years to find homes they could afford.  It means that towns all over New Jersey must now move forward and identify ways to encourage and support the building and rehabilitation of homes for people with limited financial means. And because of this ruling, more homes will surely be built in the years to come to address our state's ongoing housing affordability crisis.

More than 100 municipalities have already reached agreements with advocates and developers establishing obligations of more than 32,000 homes. 

Yet in a trial that is currently underway in Mercer County, five towns with a higher cost of living - Princeton, West Windsor, East Windsor, Hopewell and Lawrence - are arguing to artificially lower their affordable housing numbers.  Their arguments assert that people with extremely low incomes, families who make less than 20 percent of the area median income, should not be counted in the housing methodology at all because they will never be able to afford living in these towns even if the towns properly zone for additional homes.

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Budget limbo of sequestration puts squeeze on low-income New Jerseyans facing homelessness

Staci Berger Richard W. Brown
Stacie Berger and Richard W. Brown

Lynne worked full time for 30 years, was married, and had her own home. But after a divorce, a job loss, and foreclosure, she was homeless for almost two years. With the help of a housing voucher and support services from Family Promise, she moved into her own apartment. In August, after six months of volunteer experience, she began working full time as an administrative coordinator for a nonprofit in Morris Plains. She drives to work every day in a car that was donated to her.

Lynne says that homelessness “can happen to anyone” and that she “would still be in the street if there were not programs in place.”

“Lawmakers need to know how important vouchers are,” says Lynne.

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| October 6, 2015

Finding places to live for the poorest citizens, and for those with special needs, is essential to building a diverse community

gail levinson
Gail Levinson

The League of Municipalities released two commissioned reports that serve to advise judges, developers, and other housing experts on its position relative to the Mount Laurel doctrine and the establishment of formulas for the production of low- and moderate-income housing as per the Mount Laurel doctrine and the New Jersey Fair Housing Act.

Of concern to the Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey (SHA) is the reports’ recommendation that people living on extremely low incomes, less than 20 percent of area median income, be excluded from state housing-policy requirements because their incomes are too low to afford an affordable rent. So where will they live?

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Tom Toronto | September 10, 2015

With new chance to address demand for high-quality, affordable housing, towns have another chance to protect most vulnerable citizens

tom toronto
   Tom Toronto

As towns prepare to submit updated housing plans for judicial approval over the next several months, New Jersey families with special needs are entering an exciting time.

In those plans, municipalities will have the opportunity to address the pressing need for high-quality, affordable housing for some of the most vulnerable New Jerseyans, including those with autism and other developmental disabilities, as well as domestic-violence victims.

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Posted by on in OpEd

As towns across New Jersey prepare their housing plans over the next few months, we call on them to do all they can to help their fellow residents in need

 

These aren't just numbers - they're our brothers, our sisters, our children and our friends. And they deserve our help

 

By Bob Pekar 

 

In the Burlington County Times

 

Imagine trying to recover from a serious mental illness and not being sure where you were going to be able to sleep at night. Or imagine leaving an abusive relationship but not knowing whether you would have a stable home to fall back on where you could rebuild your life.

 

Situations like these are all too common in New Jersey. Even as new research has shown that good housing is the key to getting families confronting mental illness and other disabilities on their feet, too many New Jersey families wait for years on waiting lists to access safe and affordable housing opportunities. At Oaks Integrated Care, we always have families waiting in line for a housing opportunity.

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