TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice which would provide an additional $15 million for the low-income rental assistance program was approved in the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee today.
“It’s troubling to report that New Jersey is the third most expensive State in the nation for renters, behind California and Massachusetts,” said Senator Rice, Chairman of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. “What is even worse is that the minimum wage for our State is lower than that of California and Massachusetts. Working residents are unable to afford adequate housing and with legislation we can try to make the dream of affordable living a reality.”
The original bill, S-357, approved $10 million to create a State rental assistance program for low-income residents that is similar to the federal Section 8 program.
Recent bill, S-2067, would call for an additional $15 million, this year, for the rental assistance program. The bill would also be amended to require non-senior or non-disabled recipients of the grants to take advantage of workforce training that is offered by a local One-Stop Career Counseling Center.
“Everyone wants a safe place to live, and New Jersey residents are no different,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “Its the job of the legislature to figure out ways to make that dream a reality. There are approximately 100,000 New Jersey residents on the Section 8 waiting list in the State. The rental assistance program will help grant the wish of about 2,000 families who are desperate to get decent housing.”
The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee before going to the full Assembly and then the Governor’s office for final approval.