Plans for an affordable housing development.

The Atlantic writer Alana Semuels takes on a highly-combustive topic, a New Jersey State Supreme Court decree that towns are on the hook to provide affordable housing, and the community reaction--in this case anti-Semitic--when towns move ahead to comply.

Semuels zeroes in on an old-line, middle-class town called Howell, and a fury stirred up as plans for a 72-unit affordable development made it onto official city planning and zoning commission agendas. She writes:

Affluent, mostly white communities often oppose affordable housing because their residents fear the changes that they believe an influx of black, Latino, or lower-income white residents would bring. There’s also a fairness argument—homeowners had to scrimp and save to buy in that area, they say, and now poor people just get to move there on the cheap? The complaint that affordable housing will bring Jews to a neighborhood is far less common, but in the same vein as these other, more typical, arguments. A vocal group of Howell residents wanted their town to stay just as it was, and they targeted the group that they believed threatened that.

People behave the same the world over.

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