N.J. Passes Strict Affordable Housing Law

Since New Jersey’s controversial Mount Laurel Decision in 1975, in which the state’s courts said every community has a responsibility to provide affordable housing, many communities have gotten around the requirement by paying other towns to take on their affordable housing obligations.

This week New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed into law a requirement that every town in the state provide housing within its own boundaries for low- and moderate-income residents.

The reform was backed by a coalition of affordable-housing advocates and religious leaders. It was opposed by many, including urban mayors who said they would lose the money that flows from the agreements. That money helps pay for rehabilitating homes or building new stock in poor communities.

David Rusk, a housing-policy consultant and a former mayor of Albuquerque, N.M., said the new law gave New Jersey the “most comprehensive” affordable-housing laws in the nation.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, Jonathan Tamari (07/18/2008/)