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Creating Inclusive Communities

ALL INDIVIDUALS THRIVE IN DIVERSE, INCLUSIVE, AND VIBRANT COMMUNITIES. But far too often, this ideal is frustrated by harmful policies like exclusionary zoning, that perpetuate residential segregation by preventing affordable housing from being built in certain areas. For generations, affluent white communities in the suburbs have supported separate yet unequal education, policing, economic, and health systems that benefit them, while ignoring the devastation in marginalized communities that stifles wealth-building and impacts health and well-being. Gentrifying urban centers also further racial and economic separation when low-income families and communities of color are priced out and displaced as neighborhoods are “revitalized.” Fortunately, New Jersey has the strongest framework in the nation to fight against residential segregation and exclusionary zoning through the development of affordable housing. As Fair Share Housing Center works to enforce the Mount Laurel Doctrine, we also advocate for policies that prevent displacement and promote the development of more affordable housing across our state and beyond.

Enforcing the Mount Laurel Doctrine

New Jersey’s landmark Mount Laurel Doctrine outlaws exclusionary zoning and requires all towns to create a realistic opportunity for their fair share of affordable housing, which has led to the construction of over 70,000 new affordable homes in high-opportunity communities. Since 2015, Fair Share Housing Center has settled cases with more than 340 towns throughout New Jersey, which will lead to approximately 50,000 more affordable homes in the next decade.

Preventing Displacement from Gentrification

Many of New Jersey’s cities are rapidly gentrifying as the state experiences record population growth. As a more affluent population moves in, marginalized communities that have lived in their homes for generations are being priced out. We work with local advocates and cities to protect affordability through inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning is one tool that local governments can use to require an affordable housing set-aside in new development. We recently secured two victories for inclusionary zoning in the City of Jersey City and the City of Newark, helping to preserve affordable homes in our state’s two largest urban centers.

Safeguarding Resources for Affordable Housing Development

New Jersey is still facing a significant shortage of affordable homes–nearly 300,000. Securing resources to safeguard development is key to closing that gap. This year, we successfully advocated for New Jersey to include $305 million in the state budget to specifically fund affordable housing projects from Mount Laurel settlements. We’re also advocating for New Jersey to leverage all tools at its disposal to advance the development of affordable homes, including fully implementing existing laws that require affordable housing set-asides in certain instances.