Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Fear of Affordable Housing
Alana Semuels, writing in the Atlantic, details the history of public housing in New Jersey. Her focus is on the town of Howell and it's anti-semitic flavored resistance to affordable housing:
The comments started online shortly after this middle-class Republican stronghold in central New Jersey filed a plan to rezone a wooded area to enable the construction of 72 affordable housing units.
There were the usual range of complaints: that the affordable housing would create more traffic, put additional stress on its aging infrastructure, and bring an undesirable element to town.
But, in this case, that undesirable element wasn’t the usual target of affordable-housing opponents: “We do not need this ... This means we are going to have more Jewish families milking the system,” one woman wrote on the Facebook page of Howell Happenings NJ.
“I moved to Howell 15 years ago to get away from garbage. Now the garbage is getting dumped on top of me,” another man wrote. This comment received four likes on the Howell Happenings NJ Facebook page.
There were dozens of others, from Howell residents fearing that a community of Hasidic Jews living in nearby Lakewood, New Jersey, would “take over” Howell, that the new affordable housing units would drag down property values and deplete the town’s coffers.