N.J. towns trying to hold on to housing funds

There’s a chance that about 200 New Jersey towns might be able to prevent the state from confiscating $160 million in unspent affordable housing trust funds.

An appellate court ruled last week that the state must give towns an opportunity to challenge the seizure of those funds by showing they’ve committed the money to affordable housing projects.

Evesham is one of several communities that acted recently to adopt plans. Mayor Randy Brown is hopeful the state won’t get the $300,000 still in the Burlington County town’s trust fund.

“I’m not as concerned now as I was before because it seems to me from what we’ve been told that as long as there is an actual plan in place of what you’re going to do with your revenue, then they won’t take it,” Brown said Monday.

Officials with the Fair Share Housing Center say the funds should be used to make housing more affordable.

“They should be spending it, as long as they can, on housing that the state needs,” says Kevin Walsh of the center, “We’re one of the most expensive states in the country for housing costs, and this money should be going out the door working with nonprofits and others to make housing more affordable.”

The Christie administration wants to take the money and put it in the state’s general fund.

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