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Singleton Bill to Encourage Construction of Affordable Housing in High-Opportunity Areas Advances

Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee Chair Senator Troy Singleton, which would require the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) to allocate a certain portion of federal low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) to certain high-opportunity areas, advanced from the Senate today.


“New Jersey is one of the most expensive places in the nation to rent or own a home. Compounding this problem is that the affordable housing options we do have tend to segregate our communities,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “By offering developers tax incentives to build affordable housing in high-opportunity areas, we can address our housing affordability crisis as well as offer children from lower socioeconomic families an opportunity to attend good schools and live in areas with low poverty rates.”


Under the bill, S-248, NJHMFA would be required to reserve at least 30% of its annual allocation of LIHTCs for qualified projects located within high opportunity areas defined as municipalities with a high performing school district and a census tract with a poverty rate below the State average. The property would have to be a half mile from public transportation and would need to be in close proximity to grocery stores, health care facilities, day care providers, recreational facilities, and other civic institutions.


According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, a high-opportunity area is also defined as an area designated by state or local governments whose poverty rate falls below 10% for metropolitan areas or below 15% for non-metropolitan areas.


The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 24-13.