In an effort to prevent low-income residents in affordable housing from being permanently displaced if their building is renovated or replaced, Assembly Democrats William Spearman, Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Gary Schaer sponsor a bill that would give these residents priority access to housing in the new building. The legislation was unanimously passed by the full Assembly Thursday.
Under the bill (A-1533), developers would be required to reserve a portion of their rental assistance vouchers for the people who were displaced by the renovation or rebuilding of an affordable housing development. Displaced residents with these vouchers would then be granted right of first refusal – meaning they would be the first people able to sign up for the new affordable housing units, so long as they still qualify for low-income housing once the project has been completed.
Upon the bill’s passage, Assembly sponsors Spearman (D-Camden, Gloucester), Reynolds-Jackson (D-Hunterdon, Mercer) and Schaer (D-Bergen, Passaic) issued the following joint statement:
“Low-income residents already face a number of challenges finding and applying for affordable housing. After going through the whole process, it can be destabilizing for their housing to then be taken away from them. Many of these residents would likely find it difficult to access affordable housing anywhere in the vicinity of their previous home. It is a simple matter of both necessity and fairness – anyone who is temporarily displaced by renovations or rebuilding should be given priority access to housing in the new affordable building once the project is complete.”