Governor Chris Christie’s efforts to reclaim some of the unused money set aside for affordable housing in New Jersey were somewhat thwarted by a decision Friday, when an appellate court ruled that towns have the right to appeal that decision. Staci Berger, director of policy and advocacy at Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey spoke with NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider about affordable housing in the state and what’s next in the process.
Berger said the court ruling requires the Department of Community Affairs to explain to municipalities why they were losing the money accumulated since 2008 and to give them the opportunity to appeal the decision.
She said it’s too soon to tell if the ruling will delay efforts to create affordable housing options throughout the state. “We do know towns have been working very tenaciously to spend the money that they were at risk of losing,” she explained. “So in some cases the deadline did do what it was intended to do and that was to spur development in the communities where there needed to be more opportunities for homes and jobs.”
Berger said municipalities have already spent about $40 million of the $200 million Christie put in the state budget for affordable housing. “We think towns have been working properly to spend that money up until the deadline and potentially beyond because the court order does allow them to show the administration through the Council on Affordable Housing that they intend to spend that money in a way that is appropriate,” she said.
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