In one month’s time, 221 municipalities throughout the state face losing hundreds to millions of dollars each, if the money has not yet been spent on affordable-housing projects within their borders. They are up against a deadline set in 2008, when the latest phase of the Fair Housing Act went into effect, giving local governments four years to spend the funds. As of June 5, a total of $161.3 million had yet to be spent at the local level, according to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, the group that has been overseeing the state’s affordable-housing program in lieu of the Council on Affordable Housing — which since last year has been an abolition target of Gov. Chris Christie. (His effort was thwarted by an appeals court in March, and this month the State Supreme Court refused to hear the appealed case, though other court challenges are still pending.) The money must either be spent or committed by July 17. But housing advocates say the affordable-housing program has been in such disarray in recent years that it has been difficult to determine what projects qualify and what constitutes a commitment. According to them, the rules were never spelled out, and the housing council, with its uncertain status, was neither reviewing nor approving projects.
– NY Times