NEW JERSEY – In an effort to increase access to homeownership in New Jersey, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee this week advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton which would authorize the use of affordable housing voucher program funding for the purpose of homeownership expense assistance.
The bill, S-3585, would direct the Department of Community Affairs to reserve a portion of the State Rental Assistance Program fund to establish a program similar to the federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program.
The federal Housing Choice Voucher Program allows participants, who would otherwise apply a voucher toward rent payments, to instead apply the voucher toward homeownership expenses including mortgage debt, insurance, and utilities.
“Homeownership is the American Dream, yet for too many families purchasing a home is out of reach,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington), Chair of the Committee. “The Housing Choice Voucher Program is used by thousands of people to secure rentals throughout our state, and this proposal would expand that program to cover costs affiliated with buying a home. Ultimately, providing assistance to low-income families seeking to own a home would help them build generational wealth and equity, thereby providing greater economic security to these families in the long term.”
The bill would also require local housing authorities that administer funding through the Section 8 Program to also implement the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program.
The Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program is a federal program that provides assistance to eligible low-income families to purchase a home. The program is administered by local public housing agencies, which are responsible for determining eligibility and providing assistance. Currently, local housing authorities are permitted, but not required, to implement this program.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0.