New Jersey debates how to use unspent housing trust funds

Affordable housing was one of the main topics of discussion during a New Jersey Assembly committee hearing on the Department of Community Affairs budget.

A law allows the state to claim about $200 million developers paid to local affordable housing trust funds that was not spent in the past four years.

Department of Community Affairs Acting Commissioner Richard Constable says the administration wants to use the money for a variety of programs. “Including shelter assistance, including section eight, very low income folks have an opportunity to rent all throughout the state by utilizing these payments.” he said.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman maintains the money should be designated for construction of low-and-moderate income housing. “This for vouchers for rent. It’s not intended to use it for developmentally disability facilities. It’s supposed to be income sensitive,” she said.

The state is appealing a court ruling that struck down the governor’s decision to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing.

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