Many people know that housing costs in New Jersey are high, but a new report shows that things are getting worse quickly and that Garden State now lacks a quarter of a million rental homes that low-income families can afford.
Arnold Cohen, the senior policy advisor for the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, says that it has become almost impossible for renter households with very low incomes to find affordable housing in the last two years.
He said that when the pandemic started, people were given protections so they couldn’t be kicked out, and many families got help paying their rent, but that help no longer exists.
The Situation is Worse
He said, “We don’t have that help anymore, and now that the restrictions are gone and rents have gone up so much, it’s making things worse, especially for people with low incomes.”
He said that three out of every four very low-income families spend half of their income on rent. “If you’re spending three-quarters of your income just to have a stable place to live, that doesn’t leave much for all the other things you need to live,” he said.
He said that in Garden State, there are only 31 apartments for every 100 people who want to rent an affordable place.
“That means it’s almost impossible for most people to find a place they can afford, so they pay more than half of their income on rent.”
Cohen said that last year, the Network started a campaign called HouseNJ. The goal of this campaign is to make the large-scale, long-term investments and reforms that are needed so that low-income families can afford a place to live.
Addressing The Problem
He said that we need to make sure that “money in the governor’s budget for making more affordable homes is used for that purpose and doesn’t go to anything else.”
He also said that policies must be put in place to make sure rents don’t go up so much that people can’t pay them and that repairs are done quickly so people can live in decent conditions.
The National Low Income House Coalition and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey put out a report called “The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes.” It is called “The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes.”
The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey is a statewide group of more than 275 community development corporations, individuals, and other groups that work to make homes, jobs, and strong communities that are affordable.