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State Seal

   Boosts funding for affordable housing, grants urban communities greater control over development

TRENTON — A bill sponsored by Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) and Senator Nellie Pou (D-Passaic, Bergen) that gives urban communities more flexibility with affordable housing requirements that are tied to state aid and also boosts funding for affordable housing projects was approved today by the Senate.

The bill, S-928, allows certain municipalities to determine the amount of affordable housing to be included in a development project funded by the residential tax credit of the Economic Redevelopment & Growth Grant program. Currently, state law requires developers using residential tax credits to set aside 20 percent of the units for low-to-moderate income residents, but the bill would leave the percentage up to the qualifying municipality.

“Many of our urban municipalities have an adequate supply of affordable housing and need more market rate units to attract a diversity of income,” said Lesniak, chairman of the Senate Economic Growth Committee. “Plus, the set aside requirement can create a financial disincentive and hamper urban development.”

The bill applies to more than 60 communities, which meet certain criteria such as municipalities that qualify for urban aid and former Abbott districts.

Also, the bill extends the deadline for developers to submit a certificate of occupancy to receive the credit and provides an additional $250 million in tax credits strictly for affordable housing. Last year, lawmakers set aside $600 million in residential tax credits, but the bill would boost that amount to $850 million with the inclusion of a $250 million set aside for affordable housing.

“The development of affordable housing has unfortunately slowed significantly in New Jersey as the governor challenges the authority and the mandate of the Council on Affordable Housing,” said Pou. “This additional money will help spur interest and give communities greater opportunities to leverage the money to get additional federal dollars.”