TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner to help more low income families afford New Jersey’s high rent prices moved one step closer to law as it passed the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee today.
“Recent reports have shown that New Jersey’s lowest wage earners can rarely afford even the most modest apartment for their families,” said Senator Shirley Turner, D-Mercer. “When a family has to work a collective 150 hours a week just to be able to afford the average two bedroom apartment, then there is a real and immediate need for the State to develop ways of easing the burden caused by our high cost of living. We have too many people in New Jersey without a home of their own to not take action.”
The Legislature passed a measure in June that called for the creation of a State rental assistance program for low income individuals or households, similar to the federal Section 8 program and an initial $10 million appropriation for the program. The program will be administered by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and provide grants to households that are eligible for Section 8 vouchers but do not receive them due to a lack of federal funds. Assistance to an individual or household under the State program would conclude upon the award of federal Section 8 rental assistance to that same individual or household.
The new bill, S-2067, adds an additional $15 million to the program for the coming year. It also includes a provision that all non-senior, non-disabled recipients of the grants would be required to take advantage of workforce training available through their local One-Stop Career Counseling Center.