LETTER: Prioritizing affordable housing would help fight segregation in Hudson County

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In a letter to the editor, Harrison resident Jonathan Schwedel says that prioritizing affordable housing would help fight segregation in Hudson County.

Photo via jerseycitynj.gov.

Dear Editor,

It has been heartening to see protests in Hudson County against police brutality and systemic racism, but it is important to make sure that this rhetoric of equality translates into action.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the housing affordability crisis, where Census Bureau data indicates that Hudson County is one of the most segregated counties in the nation with regard to racial/ethnic background and income.

This problem is only getting worse, with municipalities like Hoboken and Weehawken using zoning to make it extremely difficult to build affordable housing, limiting the ability of the less affluent to live in those towns.

Over the past twenty years, Gold Coast towns have seen their median incomes double, with their lack of available housing transforming these areas into exclusive playgrounds for the wealthy.

Jersey City has a far better record, with recent investments in affordable units at the Bayfront development on the West Side.

However, it still has room for improvement given the optics of building affordable housing on a remediated industrial site with poor public transit and far from its central business district.

That is the outcome of giving wealthy brownstone enclaves closer to downtown an effective veto over municipal housing policy.

Jersey City needs to do better in building more housing units, and one can only hope that New Jersey’s lauded Fair Share Housing Center takes increasing interest in exclusionary policies in Hudson County.

Jonathan Schwedel
Harrison resident

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