New Jersey Voters Express Strong Support for More Federal Funding for Affordable Homes to Address Homelessness

NJWASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, a NLIHC state partner released the findings of a state-wide public opinion poll that measured New Jersey registered voter support for changing the mortgage interest deduction, addressing homelessness, and creating more affordable homes. A sizable majority of registered New Jersey voters surveyed expressed support for increasing federal funding for affordable home development to address homelessness as well as opposition to cutting state funding for affordable homes to address the state’s budget deficit. Approximately half of New Jersey voters also expressed support for reforms to the mortgage interest deduction that would generate resources to be used to address homelessness.

The polling of 625 New Jersey registered voters was conducted from June 15 through June 17, 2015 by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research and Belden Russonello Strategists LLC. Sixty-four percent of New Jersey voters polled supported increasing federal funding for affordable homes to help end homelessness. While most respondents expressed support for the mortgage interest deduction (MID), they also expressed considerable support for reforms that would make the deduction fairer and less regressive, and about half said they would apply any savings from MID reform to ending homelessness.

Fifty-one percent of New Jersey voters favored capping the amount of a mortgage against which homeowners can claim a tax break to $500,000 (down from $1 million currently). Only 38% opposed lowering the cap. Likewise, 50% supported replacing the mortgage interest deduction (which only those who earn enough to itemize on their taxes can claim and that disproportionately benefits households in the highest tax brackets) with a 15% tax credit that all homeowners with a mortgage could claim.  Only 40% opposed such a change.

“New Jersey voters’ support for smart investments to end homelessness is extremely encouraging,” stated Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “With these modest changes to the mortgage interest deduction, we could end homelessness in New Jersey and nationally without any additional cost to the federal government.”

When asked if they approve or disapprove of the New Jersey state government cutting funds intended for creating more affordable homes in order to reduce the state’s budget deficit, a resounding 66% “disapproved” and only 27% “approved” of such cuts.

“Our elected officials need to invest in ways to create more of the affordable homes New Jersey residents need and want,” said Staci Berger, President and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. “This polling shows that voters want New Jersey’s budget to spur opportunity and help our economy and residents thrive.”

Housing advocates have called on funding for the National Housing Trust Fund as a means to create affordable rental homes for extremely low income families, thereby reducing homelessness. Several funding proposals are currently under consideration in Congress including reforming the mortgage interest deduction.

The margin of sampling error for a random sample survey of this size is plus or minus 4 percentage points. To read details of the survey, please visit the following link:  http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/NJ_toplines.pdf

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