(The Center Square) – New Jersey is spending $2 million on “experiential housing advocacy programs” to provide free legal services to low- and moderate-income tenants who need housing help.
The program, through Seton Hall and Rutgers law schools, provides legal counsel, representation in litigation and help applying for housing benefits.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed A-5758 into law last week to create the program. In a statement, Assembly members Craig J. Coughlin, D-Middlesex; Nicholas Chiaravalloti, D-Hudson; Vincent Mazzeo, D-Atlantic; Britnee N. Timberlake, D-Essex/Passaic, said thousands of New Jerseyans faced “housing insecurity” before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Empowering renters with legal support and resources at no cost to them, as this law does, helps us to overcome disparities and boost housing security in a way that safeguards people’s dignity and the fairness of any legal proceedings,” the lawmakers said.
The bill allocates $575,000 to the Seton Hall Law School, $575,000 to the Camden location of Rutgers Law School and $575,000 to the Newark location of Rutgers Law School. It also allocates an additional $275,000 to the Seton Hall Law School to create training materials and train law students and graduates participating in the program.
According to an estimate filed last month, the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) could not determine how much the program will cost taxpayers after the 2022 fiscal year.