Over the last 50 years, New Jersey’s Fair Housing Act has created a uniquely progressive opportunity to enforce housing integration. Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC), founded in 1975, is a public interest law firm leveraging state policies to mandate that towns build enough affordable housing to meet the overall region/state’s needs.
This project will map and analyze the state’s distribution of affordable housing to pinpoint high-opportunity and formerly exclusionary areas to focus our organizing and affirmative marketing work. By combining an analysis of housing plans from more than 300 towns that plan to build tens of thousands of units by 2025 and data related to demographics and amenities, we can guide our organizing efforts to help low-income people move into well-resourced neighborhoods. This project will help us integrate a wide range of data, including state data on race and ethnicity of affordable housing occupants, which has not been studied extensively.
We would like to create a report that presents maps and statistics on the distribution of affordable housing over time. Secondly, the report will define a methodology for high opportunity neighborhoods and sites where affordable housing is to be built in the next five years. The report will map and calculate statistics around metrics like proximity to transit/auto-dependence, healthcare, and distance from environmental hazards. Breaking the affordable housing sites down by census tract, what percentage of affordable housing is located in areas of opportunity, measured by various metrics like proximity to transit, jobs, healthcare, healthy foods, and other amenities.
The maps and reports will be used in presentations with our partners, such as branches of the NAACP and faith leaders throughout the state, to promote and publicize affordable developments in well-resourced communities. These data will help people looking to move into areas with specific advantages, like being close to transit. The work will guide our advocacy and strategy in ongoing negotiations and affirmative marketing – ensuring that affordable units in high-opportunity neighborhoods go to low-income residents. Lastly, the report will guide researchers who have been studying FSHC’s work, which has been the subject of several major social science research books (most recently “Climbing Mount Laurel” by Princeton University sociologist Douglas Massey) and a number of articles.