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NJ Bill To Build Tiny Houses For Homeless Is Delayed -- But In A Good Way

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak plans to seek federal and non-profit funding instead of state funds.
NJ Bill To Build Tiny Houses For Homeless Is Delayed -- But In A Good Way
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I'm a huge fan of tiny houses, and tell my kids they should build one for me when I'm old. (Er, older.) It's a thoughtful solution to so many problems, and I think we're going to see more of them as part of our social services. Happy to see New Jersey exploring this:

TRENTON — Supporters of a bill that would encourage towns to build tiny houses for the poor and homeless will have to wait at least a tiny bit longer.

The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today had planned a vote on the bill (S2571), which would create a three-year “Tiny Home Pilot Program” in which towns from three regions of the state would get two-for-one affordable housing credits if they allowed the building of tiny homes — houses or apartments — for the homeless and poor.

But the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), asked that it be delayed.

The homes were to be constructed under the bill by a $5 million state appropriation. That’s a tiny sum in the scheme of the state’s $33 billion budget, but Lesniak said he wanted to instead work out sources of funding from non-profit foundations or the federal government instead.

“This budget is so tight and there’s so many needs, this will get lost and I don’t want to hold out any false hopes,” Lesniak said. “So I’ve already some meetings set up with some private foundations to see if we can get some seed money”

Supporters say the homes could provide a low-cost way to house the homeless.

Sherry Rubel, an advocate for the homeless who pushed for the bill, said the bill was still a work in progress and shouldn't have been heard just a week after it was introduced.

"I don’t think it was ready to be heard and I’m actually glad there’s more time to work on amending it, because I think it needs some work," she said.

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