Study: Affordable home supply in N.J. is insufficient

By Emily Bader
New Jersey | Mar 11, 2020 at 4:40 am

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey released a new study on Tuesday and found that there are zero states in the  nation with an adequate supply of affordable rental homes for their lowest income renters.

The study found the U.S. has an affordable rental home shortage of nearly 7 million available to extremely low-income renters (those with household incomes at or below the poverty level or 30% of their area media income). Among states, the supply of affordable and available rental homes ranges from 18 for every 100 extremely low-income renter households in Nevada to 62 in West Virginia.

In New Jersey, there are just 29 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 ELI renter household, below the national average of 36. Of the poorest renter households in the state, 74% of them are spending more than half of their incomes on housing with little left over for basic necessities.

“Our housing market has been severely imbalanced for far too long, but measures are finally underway that are going to help us make our state a place everyone can afford to call home,” Staci Berger, CEO and president of the Network, said. “Under the Murphy administration, investments are being made to create affordable homes. Last week’s launch of the Special Needs Housing Subsidy Loan Program comes on the heels of the news that for the second year in a row, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund will be fully funded in the state budget. This will help us build a thriving N.J.”

The state’s has a current shortage of 217,640 affordable and available rental homes for its 301,079 extremely low income renter households.

“Our home impacts every aspect of our life — when we are affordably housed, we are healthier, our children do better in school, we earn more over our lifetimes, we even live longer. Affordable and accessible housing is a fundamental need, but far too many of the lowest income renters in our country struggle to pay the rent,” Diane Yentel, NLIHC CEO and president, said. “The housing crisis does the greatest harm to people of color. Black and Latino families are more likely than white people to be severely rent-burdened and to experience evictions and homelessness, the result of centuries of structural racism that systematically and purposefully excluded people of color from equal access to housing, community supports, and opportunities for economic mobility. The findings of this report make clear: housing justice and racial justice are inextricably linked.”

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | @emilybader