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Assembly panel advances affordable housing bills

Lopez, Wimberly & Verrelli Among Sponsors of Three Bills Targeting NJ’s Affordable Housing Shortage

NEW JERSEY – Seeking to make housing more accessible for New Jerseyans of all income levels, the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week advanced three bills to increase available affordable housing options.

The legislative package would empower municipalities and non-profit groups throughout the state to construct or rehabilitate affordable, low-income housing.

New Jersey is currently facing an affordable housing shortage. Communities across the state are struggling to keep up with demand for safe, affordable rental units and properties, and low-income families are facing significant challenges in having their housing needs met.

“Housing is a human right,” said Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez (D-Middlesex). “Access to safe, affordable housing is life changing for struggling families. In too many households, the majority of a family’s monthly income goes towards housing costs, leaving little to cover bills, food, health care, and other essentials. By expanding existing programs and supporting the redevelopment of residential properties, we are putting affordable housing in reach for New Jerseyans.”

A5595, sponsored by Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez, aims to expand the eligibility of contractors under the New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Prevention Program to include non-profit organizations with experience in dwelling rehabilitation and community development work.

A5596, sponsored by Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, would establish the Affordable Housing Rehabilitation and Renovation Program in the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to rehabilitate multiple dwellings to be used as affordable housing, and renovating and preserving existing affordable housing units. The bill also creates the Affordable Housing Rehabilitation and Renovation Fund to support such projects with federal funds.

“New Jersey families should not have to live paycheck to paycheck struggling to make ends meet due to the overwhelming cost of housing. We need to fine viable solutions to New Jersey’s affordable housing shortages,” said Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic). “Investing in programs that increase affordable housing options for New Jerseyans will help combat housing instability and reduce the number of residents at risk of homelessness.”

Another bill in the package (A5597), sponsored by Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli, would establish the Nonprofit Housing Construction Rehabilitation Pilot Program. The program would be responsible for providing grant funding to eligible nonprofits to build or rehabilitate low- or moderate-income households.

“New Jersey families of all income levels deserve access to housing—and they shouldn’t have to cut back on other necessities to afford it,” said Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli (D-Mercer, Hunterdon). “The number of residents looking for affordable housing options drastically outweighs our state’s housing supply. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in 2021 we were short approximately 224,531 affordable and available rental homes to meet the needs of our communities. We must better serve our constituents by working to facilitate the construction of new affordable housing projects.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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