Singleton, Pou Bill To Encourage Diversity In The Affordable Housing Industry Clears Committee

Trenton – In an effort to expand access to affordable housing, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today passed legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Nellie Pou to expand financing opportunities for low- and moderate-income housing and revise certain aspects of the Home Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) laws to encourage participation by qualified minority, veteran, and women owned housing development firms.

“The primary goal of this legislation is to level the playing field and allow for diversification in affordable housing development,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington), Chair of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. “The bill’s benefits are twofold – it will help minority, veteran and women-owned businesses obtain new opportunities, and it will ultimately provide more affordable housing stock in our state.”

Under the bill, S-337, the HMFA would be required to accept third party verification of compliance, eliminate duplicative reviews, and streamline the approval of individuals seeking affordable housing. The bill would prohibit the agency from establishing any program, rule, or regulation that would unnecessarily obstruct or discourage participation by minority, veteran, or women owned businesses.

“The goal of this bill is to expand and diversify the housing developers that build in our state,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Promoting participation by minority, veteran, and women owned businesses will create attainable opportunities for these firms to construct low- and moderate-income housing options for New Jersey residents.”

Additionally, the bill would direct the HMFA to establish incentives and priorities to promote participation by minority, veteran, and women owned housing development firms in order to create opportunities for these firms to offer low- and moderate-income housing options. The bill would also encourage the development of multi-family rental housing and home ownership opportunities for low and moderate income families by allowing participating firms to satisfy existing bonding requirements through a valid letter of credit or traditional performance bonding.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0.

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