This Year’s Theme: 50 Years of Opening Doors
TRENTON, NJ – During National Fair Housing Month, recognized during the month of April, the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is honoring the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act (Act) passed by Congress in April 1968 immediately following the assassination of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Amended in 1988, the Act guarantees equal housing opportunities for all people and makes it illegal to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, color, national origin, gender, religion, family status or disability.
In New Jersey, DCA is the state agency charged with the principal responsibility of administering housing-related programs. These range from rental assistance and housing rehabilitation to affordable housing construction subsidies and homeless shelter support. Every year, DCA helps thousands of low- and moderate- income families and individuals to obtain and retain safe, affordable housing and provides grants to communities and counties to upgrade public facilities and otherwise improve the quality of the life for their residents. The Department’s services benefit low-income families with children, the elderly, survivors of domestic violence, those with disabilities and other special needs, and the homeless, among others.
“The State of New Jersey and DCA are committed to ending housing discrimination,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “We will continue our efforts to raise awareness for fair housing rights in communities through fair housing and employment opportunities, and needed services to all residents.”
DCA and its affiliated agencies such as the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) have demonstrated this commitment by administering programs that help low-income families live in neighborhoods of high opportunity by providing housing vouchers, construction financing for low- and moderate-income housing, and project-based federal and state rental assistance. For example, the Department and NJHMFA have capitalized on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, which was established by the federal Tax Reform Act of 1986, to help finance approximately 55,000 affordable housing units in New Jersey to date. DCA also analyzes impediments to fair housing choice, takes steps to overcome the impediments it identifies, and continually examines its programs and regulatory practices to reinforce and expand upon fair housing policy changes.
Established in 1967, DCA was created to improve state services to local government; address the issues at the time of urban decline and suburban development; and secure federal funds to fight poverty. Today, the Department offers a wide range of programs and services, including affordable housing production, fire safety and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery.