Trenton – The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Senator Nellie Pou to establish the “Security Deposit Assistance Pilot Program” in Passaic, Union, Essex, Hudson, Gloucester, Atlantic, Burlington, Camden and Mercer counties to assist very low-income families in the payment of rental security deposits.
“Housing insecurity continues to threaten low-income families throughout the State and around the country. With the increasing cost of living, the bill would make housing more affordable and accessible,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D- Camden/Gloucester). “The pilot program would ease the financial barrier of security deposits for very l0w-income families seeking housing.”
The bill, S-515, would direct the Commissioner of Community Affairs to operate the “Security Deposit Assistance Pilot Program” for a minimum of three years, and appropriates $450,000 to implement the program. Under the bill, the Commissioner would issue a letter of security deposit commitment to an approved household within two weeks of the receipt of their application. The bill would authorize approved households to present the commitment letter in substitution of a full security deposit payment within six months of receipt of the letter.
Any landlord who refuses to lease to a participating household will be in violation of the “Law against Discrimination.” The program would be exclusive to households with an income level low enough to qualify for “very low-income housing.”
“New Jersey is home to approximately ten thousand homeless people, including low-income families, veterans, and senior citizens,” said Senator Pou (D- Passaic/Bergen). “The pilot program would provide very low-income households with the increased opportunity to secure housing without the challenge of hefty security deposits.”
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 4-1.