FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 24, 2014

Christie Administration Announces Construction Underway on Seven Affordable Housing Projects Assisted with Federal Sandy Recovery Funds through the Neighborhood Enhancement Program

Another 13 Affordable Housing Projects Approved to Start Construction

Trenton, NJ – As part of its ongoing efforts to replenish the supply of affordable housing units destroyed or damaged by Superstorm Sandy, the Christie Administration today announced that seven projects supported by federal Sandy Recovery funds through the Neighborhood Enhancement Program are under construction and another 13 projects are approved to begin construction in Sandy-impacted counties. Once complete, these projects will provide more than 100 affordable housing opportunities for low-to-moderate income families, including those affected by the storm. 

The Neighborhood Enhancement Program, which is funded through federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery monies, provides zero-interest loans to non-profit and for-profit developers to purchase and convert foreclosed, vacant or abandoned properties, including underutilized lots, into affordable housing units in the nine counties most impacted by Sandy as determined by the federal government (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union).

“These projects will help Sandy victims, as well as working families in need of safe, decent housing that is affordable,” said Richard E. Constable, III, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, which is administering many of the State’s Sandy Recovery programs. “Through this worthwhile program, we are both supporting local efforts to address a shortage of affordable housing that was exacerbated by the storm and helping to return abandoned and blighted housing to viability.” 

Through the Neighborhood Enhancement Program, DCA has awarded 33 zero-interest loans totaling $25.6 million that will help finance 170 units of affordable housing for families earning at or below 80 percent of the median income for their area as defined by the federal government. Of these 33 projects, the 20, or two-thirds, that have either started or are about to start construction were awarded $16.7 million in program funding. The remaining projects continue to move through the federally mandated environmental review and public comment process.

Developers of all Neighborhood Enhancement Program projects will affirmatively market the affordable housing units in Sandy-impacted communities to people who remain displaced by Sandy. Also, during the first three months of lease-up for all Neighborhood Enhancement Program projects, priority will be given to Sandy-impacted individuals who registered for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance or who rented an apartment or owned a primary residence that was no longer habitable because of Sandy damage.

Consistent with how the State has historically administered similar affordable housing production programs, the Neighborhood Enhancement Program is developer-driven. The specific location of projects is a function of individual developers’ activities. DCA funds eligible applications submitted by developers as long as they meet the program’s criteria, most notably that the projects are located in one of the nine counties that the federal government determined were most impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

The seven projects under construction are Habitat for Humanity of Cape May County in Middle Township; RPM Development in Newark; Central Orange Village in Orange; two developments by Magill Real Estate Holdings in Elizabeth; 82 First St. Elizabeth Housing in Elizabeth; and Greater Plainfield Habitat for Humanity in Plainfield.