TRENTON – The Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee conducted a hearing today into affordable housing issues.
“I am not here to be critical of the administration,’’ Chair Assemblyman Jerry Green said, “but we are prepared to move ahead with policies.”
“In three years I have not seen any movement whatsoever,’’ he said in reference to the administration’s handling of affordable housing issues.
He summarized the problem in which everyone is waiting for a resolution to the ongoing court battle over whether the Christie administration will be able to seize affordable housing funds from towns.
He said that he wants to be prepared to move forward whenever the courts settle the issue of the Council on Affordable Housing, which had gone such a long time before even meeting.
Staci Berger of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, the first of several witnesses, said that the lack of affordable housing was worsened by Superstorm Sandy.
She said that about 40 percent of the homes registered with FEMA for help have incomes below $30,000 a year.
She emphasized the Council’s criticism that it believes the Christie administration action plan for using federal funds to rebuild unfairly shortchanges the vast number of renters, many of whom now are paying more rent for less space.
She gave an example of one tenant who pre-Sandy rented a one-bedroom unit and post-Sandy is renting one bedroom in a three-bedroom unit but is paying more.
“It’s mind boggling he (Christie) would take those funds,’’ Berger said, when now is the time they are needed more than ever to help Sandy victims rebuild.
A court has temporarily held up the administration’s effort to seize more than $160 million in affordable housing funds from towns, and court arguments over the issue were held on Wednesday.