Christie’s attempt to swipe municipal housing money is unlawful

The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court ruled this month that Gov. Chris Christie’s attempt to use municipal housing trust funds in the state’s general fund is unlawful.

The funds that have been protected from seizure will be available for their intended purpose, to help build homes for lower-income families, people with disabilities, and seniors on a fixed income.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a great community, in a home they can afford and each dollar is an investment in the future of our communities and our residents,” said Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (HCDNNJ) Vice President Sharon Barker. “The municipal housing trust funds are essential funding mechanisms for that purpose.”

“These trust funds are intended to help people who need homes and jobs in our state,” said Barker. “We commend the court for making this ruling and ensuring that dollars raised locally, stay local.”

“The most densely populated state in the nation is also the most economically diverse,” said Arnold Cohen, a senior policy coordinator for HCDNNJ. “New Jersey is home to some of the wealthiest places as well as some of the poorest.”

“The problem we’re experiencing is that due to our slow economic recovery, the foreclosure crisis, and Superstorm Sandy, a growing number of our residents are finding themselves among the working poor,” said Cohen.

The State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP) assists very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe housing.

In recent years however, the number of SRAP vouchers have declined due to under-investment despite the increased need.

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