UNION – Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, and Chairman of the Senate Economic Growth Committee, issued the following statement today on the direction of affordable housing regulations in New Jersey:
“COAH has failed to address the affordable housing needs of New Jersey during a growing economy and booming housing market. Under the current economic downturn, its approach will not only fail to spur low income housing development, it will stifle moderate income housing development and dampen New Jersey’s chances for an economic rebound. Our unemployment rate will continue to increase causing more pain for our residents.
“We need an integrated approach to development. Forcing the subsidy of low income housing by the private sector without an economic viability standard will be like trying to put a round peg in a square hole. It just won’t work.
“Affordable housing development needs to include moderate income housing, called workforce housing, as well as low income housing. Most firefighters and teachers and many secretaries do not qualify for affordable housing, but would under workforce housing criteria.
“Housing should be considered an infrastructure need with federal stimulus funds dedicated to provide the funds necessary to fill that need. The Legislature should authorize the Housing Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) to invest in affordable housing. We can create many needed jobs now, renovating existing homes and building new affordable and workforce housing.
“If we do nothing, there will be no affordable housing, no workforce housing and no commercial or industrial development in our state. The consequences are that dire. We can’t afford to stand idly by while our economy flounders under current economic conditions and counterproductive governmental regulations.”