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.