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McKnight Introduces Measure to Establish Task Force Focused on Improving Housing Access for Senior Citizens

Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight has introduced legislation aimed at improving senior citizens’ access to housing in New Jersey.

The measure (AR-275) would establish the “Assembly Task Force on Senior Housing.” The task force would study and make recommendations concerning access to, and the affordability of, housing for senior citizens, particularly housing constructed using federal and state subsidies, and other housing constructed as part of a municipality’s affordable housing obligation.

“As they age, many New Jersey residents face new challenges in terms of the supports and services they require. Caring for our senior citizen population requires us to examine whether the housing available to them meets their needs,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “Ensuring that our state has adequate safe and affordable housing options for seniors is essential to helping older New Jerseyans maintain the highest possible quality of life.”

Specifically, the nine-member task force would: examine how eligibility for senior housing is determined, examine how long applicants for a senior housing must wait for it to become available, examine the availability of senior housing units in each county, identify the counties in which senior housing is not adequately available and determine if there is a need to build additional senior housing units in New Jersey. If the task force does conclude that there is a need for more senior housing, it also would recommend where housing efforts should be targeted.

Members of the task force, to be appointed by the Assembly speaker would include: a maximum of two Assembly members, who cannot be of the same party; a representative of the state’s community development corporations; a representative of the state’s low-income community; a municipal housing liaison or a municipal administrative agent for affordable housing units; a representative of affordable housing developers; a representative of the senior citizen community; a representative of a public housing authority; and a representative of a municipality that is a member of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

Within six months of its organization, the task force would be required to submit a report with its findings and recommendations to the Senate president, the Assembly speaker, the Senate minority leader, the Assembly minority leader and the chairs of the Senate Community Affairs and Assembly Housing and Community Development committees.

The measure was referred to the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.