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Community And Urban Affairs Committee To Hear From Coah, Sci, The Inspector General And Others On Housing Issues

Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-Essex)

TRENTON – Senator Ronald L. Rice, Chairman of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee announced today that the panel will hold hearings to get testimony from the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), the State Commission of Investigation (SCI) and other agencies on housing issues throughout the State.

The hearing with COAH will take place on Monday, January 26, at 10 AM in Committee Room 7 of the State House Annex, and is expected to bring the Committee up to speed on the latest updates in affordable housing plans and requirements.

“The Community and Urban Affairs Committee needs to hear from COAH officials and get their take on some of the concerns that have been voiced by municipalities regarding the timeframe of providing increased affordable housing,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “With over 240 towns submitting their plans to meet COAH obligations, the Committee has a responsibility to make sure the process is implemented fairly, and that affordable housing gains are sustainable. Residents need to know that we are taking an active role in ensuring that housing is both affordable and accessible to New Jerseyans from all walks of life.”

Chairman Rice also noted that he’d like to hold a hearing with the SCI, the State Controller, State Auditor and the Inspector General to discuss housing initiatives and reducing waste, fraud and red tape in affordable housing programs. This hearing will be held on Monday, February 9 at 11 AM in Committee Room 7.

“Often, it seems that there is just too much bureaucracy involved when it comes to housing initiatives. A number of agencies are overlapping with the same purpose. I want to discuss and determine the responsibilities and authorities of these individual entities. Too often, we get letters and phone calls from residents, complaining about extensively poor conditions or construction, and when we respond to a State agency, the complaints and responsibilities are passed on to other agencies. There’s just too much red tape and we need to determine who’s responsible for what,” Senator Rice said.