Sweeney-Turner Bill Would Improve Access to Affordable Housing

Senate Approves Measure for Online Information
Trenton – Acting to improve access to affordable housing, the Senate today approved a bill authored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Shirley Turner that would require that listings of available housing units be made available online with the New Jersey Housing Resource Center. The bill would also require all units that receive credits under a “fair share” settlement be posted with the center.
“This will modernize the process of informing those in need of affordable housing of any available units,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “It would make use of changes in technology to facilitate a more effective and streamlined process through an existing, centralized listing. By requiring all units that receive credits under a fair share settlement to be posted this will vastly increase access to information about affordable housing that is available in the state.”
“In a state known for its high cost of living, getting people who need an affordable place to live is paramount, not only for the families but for society,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “This legislation will bring affordable housing requirements up to date with current technology and help to connect countless senior citizens, low-income families, and individuals with disabilities around the state with housing that meets their needs.”
The NJHRC provides a central location for people to search for affordable and accessible housing in New Jersey by working with the non-profit organization SocialServe.com to maintain a website and toll-free call center. It’s a free, online searchable registry of affordable housing units available throughout the state that helps senior citizens, low-income families and individuals with special needs secure affordable housing.
“In New Jersey we have succeeded, through litigation and advocacy, in creating thousands of affordable housing opportunities for Garden State residents in the years to come,” said Frank Argote-Freyre, Chair of the Latino Action Network Foundation. “One of our greatest challenges is informing our communities where and when these opportunities will become available in their municipalities. This legislation provides a central online location at the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency where all affordable housing units will be listed. It will connect residents to housing. Everyone wins as we take another step to economic diversification of our state housing. We thank Senator Steve Sweeney for his steadfast support and urge the Assembly to pass the bill and the governor to sign it in the next few weeks.”
Current rules designed to implement the “Fair Housing Act” require developers of affordable housing units market their units through newspaper and radio, or television – but digital marketing is not explicitly required.
“Affordable housing can only help address New Jersey’s status as one of the most racially segregated states in America if families of color know about new housing options. This legislation helps remove barriers to finding those homes by providing a single statewide tool that families can utilize — eliminating one of the major barriers families face when wanting to move to new communities,” said Richard T. Smith, president of the NAACP New Jersey State Conference and a member of the national board of directors of NAACP.
Under the bill, S-2527, the owner, developer, property manager, or other administrative entity required to implement an affirmative marketing plan of a newly constructed development containing affordable housing units being leased or sold for the first time would be required to post a listing with the NJHRC. The posting would have to be made at least 60 days before a lottery is conducted and within one day of any prospective applicants being informed about the availability of the housing.
The Senate vote was 38-0.