Affordable housing consists of two types – deed-restricted affordable housing and housing that is affordable to low-income residents. Deed-restricted housing cannot legally be sold or rented, for a certain period of time, to households with incomes at or below 80% of area median income (AMI). Trenton has an excessive amount of deed-restricted affordable housing as a proportion of total housing stock and regional "fair share." Using data from the NJ Department of Community Affairs Division of Codes and Standards, the NJ Housing Mortgage Finance Agency, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city has identified 8,282 deed-restricted affordable units in the City of Trenton, or 24% of the city’s housing stock. Despite its prominence, there is still too little affordable housing to meet the needs of some Trenton residents due to high rates of poverty, particularly the very poor with incomes at or below 30% AMI. Approximately 1/3 of these households are spending greater than 50% of their incomes on housing, according to the 2010-2015 Trenton Five-Year Consolidated Plan. Furthermore, Trenton's deed-restricted affordable housing is often low in quality and poorly maintained. The City has limited resources to address its deed-restricted affordable housing situation. However, new market-rate housing in Trenton can also be affordable for residents of relatively modest income levels, relieving the City of this burden. Whether through deed-restricted or market-rate housing, affordability must be preserved as the city grows and neighborhoods improve so that the housing needs of all types of households can be accommodated. This will ensure the continued diversity of Trenton’s neighborhoods.
The following initiative is intended to address affordable housing. As the City continues to work on affordable housing, especially at the neighborhood level, it should add additional initiatives to this section.