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The Latino Action Network Foundation [LANF], its sister organization the Latino Action Network [LAN] and longtime ally, the Fair Share Housing Center [FSHC], have collaboratively monitored affordable housing issues in New Jersey for more than a decade. As part of its ongoing work, LANF sponsored a housing roundtable on September 10, 2021, to assess the affordable housing situation in the state and offer policy recommendations. At that time, a coalition of advocates, including the three organizations named above, were fresh from a legislative victory that safeguarded tenants unable to pay their rents during the pandemic and gave them a degree of protection from eviction for rental arrears accumulated as a result. Unfortunately, as noted earlier, those protections expired at the end of last year and housing affordability deteriorated further.

There have been some significant victories since the roundtable and those are considered in this report. On July 1, 2022, Governor Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Fiscal Year 2023 budget into law which included important investments in affordable housing. In addition to providing $305 million of American Rescue Plan funding for approved affordable developments, the budget also fully funds the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, allocates dollars towards a down payment assistance program within the Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency, and sets aside dollars to be used for lead paint removal in homes. The inclusion of the $305 million is significant, in that it will support the development of more than 3,300 affordable units in municipalities across the state.

This policy report identifies a series of measures to address the growing affordable housing crisis. It sets forth a series of policy recommendations that our organizations pledge to support. It was crafted with ongoing input from over a dozen panelists that discussed and debated the recommendations contained herein. Participants were asked to consider what policy objectives could be achieved in the next few years. The policy recommendations outlined in this report were reached by consensus. Any policy objective not receiving unanimous support was omitted.

As with past LANF policy reports, this one will be distributed to the entire New Jersey Legislature and will be a focal point of our advocacy efforts. The Fund for New Jersey financially supports these periodic issue-oriented roundtables.