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February 4, 2016

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TRENTON – Assemblyman Jerry Green and Senator Raymond Lesniak announced an affordable housing initiative on Thursday that would utilize tax incentives to help increase the construction and availability of low- and moderate-income housing. Joined in support by housing advocates, the legislators said they are introducing legislation, S-894, that would provide up to $600 million in tax credits to build affordable housing.
The tax credits would be part of the state’s Economic Redevelopment Growth program.

“Since the recession, our economy has struggled to rebound like other states and more and more New Jersey families are struggling to get by,” said Assemblyman Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union).  “The need for quality, affordable housing for low and moderate income families has never been more pressing.  This tax incentive program is designed to entice developers to invest in our most distressed communities, which will in turn stimulate job creation, and ultimately boost the quality of life for both families and the communities in which they reside.”

“This bill will incentivize the development of affordable housing,” said Senator Lesniak. “It will rebuild neighborhoods and spur investment in communities. We need to transform cities from areas with just offices to communities with robust residential populations that are alive with activity seven-days per week.”

An estimated 155 communities in which the median family income does not exceed 80 percent of the statewide or metropolitan median family income, as reported in the most recent census, would qualify under terms of the proposed legislation, Senator Lesniak said. They would include cities and towns identified by the Department of Community Affairs to be facing serious fiscal distress.

In order to qualify for the tax credit, a developer must construct a residential project in which at least 20 percent of the residential units are reserved as low- to moderate-income housing, 13 percent for very low income residents and at least 20 percent of the units are constructed for workforce housing. The project would have to have at least 25 dwelling units. Developers would apply for tax credit in the same manner in which developers applied for grants under the state’s Economic Redevelopment Growth Program.

The development efforts would help promote mixed-use development with a broad range of income groups, Senator Lesniak said.

“New Jersey is a high-cost state when it comes to housing,” said Senator Lesniak. “For low-income families and working people affordable housing can be an expensive challenge. This will help address that need.”

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