The Attorney General Office’s Division on Civil Rights was responsible for the introduction, promotion, and enforcement of the State Law Against Discrimination. This law provides for equal housing opportunity regardless of “a persons race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, marital status, domestic partnership status, familial status, affectional or sexual orientation, sex, or mental and physical disability, including AIDS and HIV-related illness.” (http://www.state.nj.us/oag/dcr/housing.html) The law, while it does not prevent discrimination on the basis of age, does prevent discrimination of families with children. The sole exception being residences that are specifically established for occupancy by the elderly. There are also groups like the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Company that put time and money into educating the residents of New Jersey about the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit, a program that assists financially needy families and individuals in locating housing and giving them a helping hand when it comes to buying property. Also active is the Council on Affordable Housing, a part of New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs.
The combined efforts of these groups and others like them have aided in making the New Jersey Real Estate market accessible for every person. The government, through it’s own initiative and through the lobbying of independent special interest groups has ensured that every person, regardless of distinguishing characteristics, will have the opportunity to afford a place to live and raise a family. It wasn’t always this way, however. In order to better grasp the impact that these groups have had on the real estate market in New Jersey, and in the rest of the country as well, it would be wise to examine the state of affairs prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Prior to that piece of legislation a business owner had the right to refuse service to