Trenton, NJ

Fair housing case heads to New Jersey Supreme Court

September 09, 2016
The New Jersey Supreme Court has decided to hear more arguments over affordable housing.
     The court on Thursday announced it is allowing the Fair Share Housing Center to challenge an appellate court ruling which told towns they did not need to meet low- and moderate-income home obligations between 1999 and 2015 because the state's Affordable Housing Council couldn't agree on requirements.
     The Supreme Court says the towns should not yet disregard their requirements and the justices scheduled arguments for November.

N.J. appeals court rules towns can alter zoning laws to allow affordable housing after meeting quota

August 24, 2009
Zoning laws in New Jersey towns can be altered to accommodate affordable housing even after the municipality has met its quota, a state appeals court ruled today.
     The case before the panel involved a non profit organization, called Homes of Hope, that was looking to build eight multi-family dwellings in an area of Eastampton only zoned for single-family homes. The town's land use board denied their request for a variance to build the dwellings, citing that building the units was unnecessary because 100 units of affordable housing were already built and the proposed dwellings would exceed the number required by the state's Fair Housing Act.
     The three-judge panel however upheld a trial court decision allowing the eight units, ruling that municipalities cannot reject such development solely based on a town meeting its affordable housing obligation.

NJ gets $3.7 million in Countrywide settlement

April 02, 2009
New Jersey will receive about $3.7 million from Countrywide Financial Corp. for a fund to help eligible homeowners and state programs as part of a nationwide settlement to resolve subprime mortgage complaints, the state said Thursday.
     The state had alleged that Countrywide put borrowers in risky and eventually unaffordable sub-prime mortgages. In completing the settlement, Countrywide admitted to no wrongdoing.
     Countrywide will create a foreclosure relief fund for New Jersey borrowers and state mortgage foreclosure mitigation programs. The state will receive half of the money to fund mortgage modification programs. The remaining half will be available to sub-prime borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure after making six or less payments.
     The state estimates 8,200 New Jersey residents will benefit from the agreement.

Lawmakers seeking to nullify pet rules

April 26, 2004
Landlords can be like a dog with a bone when it comes to the rules regulating pets in their apartment units - they have control and they don't want anyone taking it away.
     Some New Jersey lawmakers, however, are looking to change the state's pet regulations and ease the restrictions for animal lovers who reside in apartments.
     The territorial dispute revolves around a bill in the Legislature that would prevent landlords from refusing to rent to people who have pets.

40 years since 'I have a dream'

August 21, 2003
As the nation marks the 40th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s galvanizing "I have a dream" speech this weekend, the previously widespread practices of racial discrimination and segregation that sparked the massive rally in Washington, D.C., seem preposterous by today's commonly accepted standards of justice and equality.
     King offered his impression of the tenor of those times in his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he warned all Americans: "It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the movement. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality."
     While area civil rights leaders point to huge strides in race relations since the 1960s, they say much work remains for themselves and for a new generation of activists.

Harvey sworn in as first black attorney general

July 10, 2003
Peter C. Harvey was sworn in Thursday as New Jersey's first black attorney general.
     Harvey, a former federal prosecutor, was sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice Deborah Poritz at a ceremony at the Trenton War Memorial.
     "I want us to accomplish as much as we can, as quickly as we can, to make a difference in the lives of ordinary citizens," said Harvey, who served as acting attorney general for four months before being confirmed by the Senate in June.
     Harvey said counterterrorism and domestic security preparedness will be among his top priorities. He also plans to combat political corruption, street gangs, drug and weapons trafficking, organized crime, housing discrimination, predatory lending and consumer fraud.

Overcrowded neighborhoods spark cultural friction

January 11, 2003
New Jersey has long been the most densely populated state in America, with sky-high property taxes and inevitable traffic on the Garden State Parkway serving as constant reminders.
     But for the past 10 years, crowding has taken on another form as more people pack into homes, particularly in cities and towns with high immigrant populations. In the state capital, residents even have a name for the rowhouses rented to groups of Hispanic men who work odd hours: Guatemalan motels.
     "If you feel crowded in New Jersey, you're not mistaken," said James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. 

U.S. neighborhoods grow more crowded

July 02, 2002
It's all they talk about these days on the front stoops of old working-class neighborhoods in this frayed city. The six, sometimes eight immigrants crowded into the tiny row house next door. The loud stereos. The beer bottles in the backyard. The neighbors even have a name for the small homes rented to large groups of Hispanic men who work odd hours: Guatemalan motels.
      Fifteen miles to the east in tony West Windsor Township, talk of crowding is muted. No one complains that too many people live in the 4,000-square-foot houses. But property taxes keep rising to help pay for more schools. So the neighbors grumble about the Asian families who take in the children of out-of-town relatives to get them in the local schools — among the best in the country.
      After almost a half-century of decline, crowding in American housing is on the rise. Census 2000 data released last month show that 6.1 million households are classified as crowded, up 36% from 1990. That's almost three times the increase in the general population during the same period. The percentage of all households that are crowded has increased less dramatically, but the rise is significant because the population has grown substantially.

McGreevey vows push on care of mentally ill

October 02, 2001
Targeting just about every issue important to people with mental illness, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim McGreevey made sweeping promises Monday to create a more stable system of mental health care in New Jersey.
     The Woodbridge mayor vowed to provide more money for housing, treatment programs, and job development to help more of the mentally ill live independently and productively in the community.
     "Mental health is a critical aspect of health," McGreevey said. "We need to break down the stigma of mental illness. My commitment to you is to address this issue head on and to make it a priority for the next administration." 

N.J. judges say bias law covers transsexuals

July 04, 2001
In a decision that further expands New Jersey's antidiscrimination law, an appeals court yesterday ruled that transsexualism is a handicap and that transsexuals should be protected from discrimination.
      "It is incomprehensible to us that our legislature . . . would condone discrimination against men or women who seek to change their anatomical sex because they suffer from a gender-identity disorder," the court ruled unanimously.
      The ruling reversed a lower court's decision, and reinstated a 1998 wrongful-termination lawsuit by Carla Enriquez, a Vineland doctor who sued West Jersey Health Systems, now known as Virtua Health.

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