N.J. housing avocates claim Christie misdirects $75 million foreclosure settlement

Affordable housing advocates are accusing Gov. Chris Christie of misusing $75 million New Jersey received in a federal settlement to end investigations into abusive foreclosure practices.

Staci Berger with the Housing Development Network of New Jersey claims the money will end up being used to balance the state budget instead of going to foreclosure-prevention programs.

“It’s very shortsighted of the governor and other folks to not realize that, if we don’t deal with the foreclosure crisis, we’re going to have permanent and long-term budget shortfalls because our economy is not going to pick up,” Berger said. “They need to look at this money not as a one-shot opportunity to backfill the budget, but as an economic investment in jobs and people and communities around the state.”

Christie, who disputes the housing advocates’ claim, said Wednesday the settlement funds are part of $371 million proposed in the new budget to deal with housing problems.

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