New Jersey Affordable Housing

Friday, May 04, 2012

Nancy Solomon, managing editor of New Jersey Public Radio, and Douglas Massey, Princeton sociologist and author of many books including American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass, discuss affordable housing in New Jersey--40 years after the Mount Laurel decision.


Douglas Massey and Nancy Solomon

Comments [19]

judy wood

one of the lead attorneys on the mount laurel case 40 yrs ago, Richard Bellman, died 2 weeks ago.
outstanding obit in nytimes mon. apr. 30
dear friend of mine

May. 04 2012 11:08 PM
Kevin from South Jersey

Zoning laws interfere with the free market and is the ultimate form of social engineering - and it is very damaging to our society and lower-income folks. There's no obligation in NJ for towns to subsidize housing for lower-income housing. They only have to make sure that their zoning allows developers who choose to do so to provide housing the folks can afford. That can be done without a penny of public funds. The private sector wants to do it and has done a decent job of it. Towns that don't zone (and thus restrict the market) have no obligation to comply with Mount Laurel. So what's the problem? Some wealthier folks don't want hard-working lower-income folks to live near them. That's not a legitimate reason to oppose a sound housing policy that encourages people with different incomes to live near each other.

May. 04 2012 12:16 PM
Marcus from Queens

@Gustavius Smith- if Starbucks couldn't fill the position in an area they would have to raise the salary or have no one to work there. All these social engineering schemes do is subsidize companies at the expanse of everyone else (taxpayer, property owner, etc.) We've lived through almost 50 years of failed social engineering, I think we can call it an abysmal failure and move on.

May. 04 2012 11:43 AM
Gustavius Smith from New York, NY

What kind of community citizen is Christie when he can't understand that the person behind the counter at Starbucks making $8 bucks to make the lattes for all the New Jersey soccer moms needs a place to live? Should they be forced to pay over a hundred bucks a month to commute for hours to these low paying jobs? Am I to believe that the average citizen in New Jersey doesnt see the fairness in providing housing for the lowest earners in their local ecomony. Christie, I hope, doesn't represent the average Joe in New Jersey. He is clearly advocating for coporations that at the end of the day care about building bank accounts not communites. Shame on Christie.

May. 04 2012 11:37 AM
Paul Bellan-Boyer from Jersey City

Regional Contribution Agreements (RCAs) were a loophole written into the original Fair Housing Act, part of the political compromise which allowed the legislature to pass legislation addressing the Mount Laurel court decisions.

RCAs allowed wealthy towns to outsource their affordable housing obligations, paying bargain basement rates to build affordable units "somewhere else" - typically in poor urban communities. Maps showing the directions of RCAs are quite dramatic, showing wealthy suburban towns helping concentrate poverty in distressed urban neighborhoods of Newark, Trenton, etc.

The intent of Mount Laurel - as demonstrated when implemented in projects like the Ethel Lawrence homes - is to provide low and moderate housing in ALL communities, including and especially places with jobs and good school systems.

RCAs were abolished in 2008 as the result of statewide community organizing by the NJ Regional Coalition, part of a thorough and progressive revision of the Fair Housing Act. Since then, affordable housing in the state has largely been frozen for two main reasons: 1) housing crisis and lack of any housing production, and 2) Governor Christie-led attempts to dismantle the state's affordable housing infrastructure.

May. 04 2012 11:10 AM

Brian from Hoboken-

You are the most conservative sounding "progressive liberal" I have ever heard. Did you take that comment straight from Fox News? I didn't realize that having a cell phone meant you could afford hundreds (more like thousands) of dollars a month for rent! Since a cell phone bill per year probably costs, at most, $1000 (and that is being ridiculously generous) and what...about $250 at the time of purchase with a two year contract....let's see that's a total of $1250 for the first year of use. I'm pretty sure that's only one month's worth of rent in many places- and again I would kill to pay that in rent. Your comments illustrate how little you know about this issue.

May. 04 2012 11:05 AM
Brian from Hoboken

I never once said I was against affordable housing. I live a few blocks from both fully subsidized as well as mixed use housing here in Hoboken. It makes good sense to have it in Hoboken with a robust public transportation system and in a town used to high density.
What I said was that no town should be forced to have public housing. No person has a right to force a town to build a home specifically for them and give it to that person at below market rates so that person can live there. In this respect, my analogy is right in the money.
I am middle class- can I force Alpine to build me a middle class home there because it is my right? Absolutely not. There are other places where te housing is available that is within 15 miles like Hackensack so I should accept that.
There will never be full equality in every measure of life. We can try to make things more fair (I pay twice the tax rate of Mitt Romney for instance), but this is taking it too far.

May. 04 2012 11:04 AM
Brian from Hoboken

" People aren't entitled to iphones or big screen tvs either."

I agree wholeheartedly. If I see one more newscast that interviews someone with an iPhone on their hip complaining about the economy and paying their cable bills I will scream. Some of these people who think that cell phones and flat screens are basic necessities of life need to see real poverty outside of the US and maybe they will realize they need to reassess their idea of what a necessity is.

Universal health insurance would go a long way toward improving more lives than the Mt Laurel decision, and it's not social engineering.

May. 04 2012 10:51 AM
Elisha from Brooklyn

This is the most ridiculous segment yet. The idea that housing should be subsidized in expensive areas is completely off the wall. What a terrible use of policy and tax money.

May. 04 2012 10:48 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Doug Massey's last comment that the housing market benefits those who have more (can't remember his exact words) is equally true of the overall market.

May. 04 2012 10:48 AM

And no Brian from Hoboken- you are clearly not a progressive liberal- or a progressive liberal with a strong prejudice. Would you like to live in public housing?? Have you ever been to a housing project?? They're not living in luxury housing, they're living in decent-enough housing and giving their children a chance to make a better life for themselves by moving into a town with better schools. You are delusional if you think an analogy between a Mercedes and having a roof over your head is an appropriate analogy- oh wait! You clearly are.

May. 04 2012 10:47 AM

Housing should be a human right!! The end.

May. 04 2012 10:44 AM
David from New York, New York

Brian, your broadcast should have a tagline: "Paid for by the Obama campaign for President" or "I'm Barack Obama, and I approved this message." You don't try to have even a pretense of balance.

May. 04 2012 10:43 AM
Ralph Loveys from Mountain Lakes, NJ

what's missing in the discussion is how to pay for it. By definition affordable housing must be subsidized. The State, Counties, and Municipalities all say they do not have the money. The "builders remedy" was the solution for awhile - but that more extreme density created a further backlash against the doctrine of Mt Laurel.

May. 04 2012 10:43 AM
licnyc from queens

Its a ridiculous argument. The result is the same, it takes money out of the pockets of people who spent a lot of money for their homes because it drives down property values. People are just not entitled to housing- they just aren't. There are a lot of things people should be entitled to, like freedom, healthcare, food- but being able to live in an affluent neighborhood is the most idiotic ridiculous argument you can make. People can rent, or live somewhere else. People aren't entitled to iphones or big screen tvs either.

May. 04 2012 10:41 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Where does it end? Since when does anyone have a RIGHT to live in an expensive town? Do I have a RIGHT to drive a Mercedes? I am a progressive liberal but this is utter nonsense. I drive through Tenafly and Englewood and Alpine and it make me want to work harder to someday live in a town like that. There is absolutely no reason that towns should have to do this.

May. 04 2012 10:41 AM
Jeff Park Slope

Isn't "affordable" a euphemism for "subsidized"? Let's use real language. Affordable housing is only provided through market forces, in particular, a process called filtering.

May. 04 2012 10:40 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

Mt. Laurel is utter nonsense. Poor people can live where ever they damn well please but for the rest of us - tough.

I don't think poor people should have superior rights to others.

May. 04 2012 10:36 AM
james from nyc

Christie is a tipical closeted racist...

No surprise

May. 04 2012 10:32 AM

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