Marking the first major new funding source in seven years to provide affordable housing in New Jersey, the Murphy administration launched an initiative to provide homes for residents with special needs.
On Tuesday, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency said it will provide for 400 apartments, with $50 million, under the Special Needs Housing Subsidy Loan Program, which will make financing available to developers.
NJHMFA said it will finance the new program through its own contributions and bonding.
The limited financing – provided via loans – will be eligible to for-profit, not-for-profit developers, and government entities at the state, county and local levels for new or rehabilitative construction with established priorities for selecting projects. According to the agency, projects must meet a 30-year timeline for maximization of long-term affordability, minimize both temporary and permanent displacement and “demonstrate appropriate location and design.”
Special-needs project loan amounts are capped at $500,000. There’s a $125,000 per unit maximum for multifamily projects, with a maximum of five units per project. Full guidelines are available from the agency here.
“We all know or help care for someone with special needs – whether it be a veteran, at-risk youth or someone facing developmental differences or mental health challenges. This funding will go directly to providing housing and compassionate care for these individuals and their families,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who also serves as commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and NJHMFA board chair.
According to the agency, SNJHSLP will serve disabled and homeless veterans; homeless individuals and families; individuals with mental illness, and physical and developmental disabilities; victims of domestic violence; individuals in treatment for substance abuse; ex-offenders and youth offenders; youth aging out of foster care; runaway and homeless youth; individuals with AIDS/HIV; individuals 18 years and over coming out of nursing homes; and individuals in other emerging special needs groups identified by state agencies.
SNJHSLP expands upon the former Special Needs Housing Trust Fund, which NJHMFA said created affordable housing and supportive services for nearly 1,600 individuals and families over the past 15 years.
The announcement came at the opening of Freedom Village in West Windsor. NJHMFA awarded that $19.6 million affordable-housing development from Project Freedom 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which it said generated $13.3 million in private equity.