The New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA) announced May 30 the creation of the Affordable Housing Support Initiative (AHSI).
The program, aimed at addressing affordable housing needs of eligible Garden State municipalities, will provide resources to support community redevelopment projects.
The AHSI is being funded with $25 million allocated from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). It will be managed by the NJRA.
“This initiative represents a tremendous opportunity to revitalize communities and create sustainable affordable housing options for New Jersey residents,” said Leslie Anderson, CEO of the NJRA, in a press release announcing the launch of the program.
“We believe this initiative will create vibrant, inclusive neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for residents across the state,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA commissioner and chairwoman of the NJRA board.
Under the initiative, the NJRA says it will focus on promoting redevelopment in eligible municipalities by deploying state resources to address affordable housing needs—adding that the program will aid both for-profit and nonprofit developers engaged in building affordable housing units.
The NJRA board recently approved its first AHSI project, with Invest Newark, to pay costs associated with the development of 20 affordable, for-sale housing units and plans to construct each unit based on NJRA’s waiting list of qualified home buyers who have mortgage approvals.
“We are proud to work with the city and manage the Newark Land Bank. Our Section 8 Homeownership Conversion Program is a national model for comprehensive economic mobility,” said Marcus Randolph, president and CEO of Invest Newark. “In accordance with our mission of advancing prosperity for all Newarkers, we are helping Newark residents realize the dream of homeownership, extending contract opportunities to local developers all while removing blight from neighborhoods and expanding the city’s tax base.”
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said he is grateful that Newark has been chosen as the first location for this initiative.
“It is particularly important that this project involves creating more homeowners in Newark, where only 25% of our residents own houses,” said Baraka. “Therefore, increasing the level of homeownership in Newark is a critical part of our affordable housing strategy. When the option of homeownership is attainable, we change the financial trajectory of each family for the better.”
NJRA says that eligible municipalities, in collaboration with for-profit and nonprofit developers, will be invited to submit applications for applicable projects.
“Access to safe and affordable housing is a fundamental right that every New Jerseyans deserves,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “The Affordable Housing Support Initiative is a crucial step towards addressing the housing challenges faced by our communities. By leveraging state resources and fostering partnerships between developers and municipalities, we can make significant progress in ensuring that affordable housing is accessible to all.”