In another project completed this year, PlanSmart NJ was commissioned by Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness, funded by ETS, to undertake an analysis of how many households were “cost burdened” in Mercer County and how much housing would need to be available to ease this pent up demand and provide for the needs of the workforce in the future. Cost burdened is a term used to describe those households who pay more than 30% of their income on housing. To pay more, puts the household at risk: they may be an illness, a divorce or a layoff away from becoming homeless.

Although the extent of the cost burdened has been known for some time, the project identified the number of households in relation to the housing that is available by price, and – for the first time – identified the future need for affordable housing based on the number of new workers, their likely incomes in the future, and the goal of reducing the number of cost-burdened households. The results of the project reveal clearly that New Jersey’s housing targets have been too low and current policy will be inadequate to produce the housing needed for the future. Senior Project Planner Jeffrey Wilkerson was primary author of the report.

Housing the Vulnerable in Mercer County Report

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