TRENTON – The Murphy administration Dec. 17 announced the award of $2 million to the nonprofit agency Ocean City Community Development Corporation to build 10 affordable rental units through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF).
According to a release, the fund, which was restored as part of Gov. Phil Murphy’s FY2020 budget, is administered by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and allows for the development of different types of affordable housing projects to support stronger, fairer, and more affordable communities.
“I am excited to see these affordable housing units become a reality. They will help strengthen the Ocean City community, creating more diverse neighborhoods, while keeping Cape May County vibrant and prosperous,” stated Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as DCA commissioner. “The rental units will provide 10 families with the opportunity to have an affordable place to call home.”
The Ocean City Scattered Site Affordable Rentals project will receive $2 million for the new construction of five buildings containing a total of 10 affordable rental units on scattered sites along Third Street and Simpson and Bay avenues. The AHTF awards were given statewide to smaller rental and homeownership housing projects sized at 25 or fewer units, which often have difficulty obtaining financing. These projects will fill the gaps within the existing affordable housing ecosystem, build on current assets and investments, and add value to neighborhoods by addressing housing needs in an equitable way.
Project funding was based on several core principles, including advancing equity in addressing housing needs, encouraging leverage of other public and private resources, and allowing a flexible structure for funds to be used to complete projects. DCA also held multiple listening sessions to hear from stakeholders about the best way the funding could be most equitably spent.
“Whenever a home is sold in Ocean City or anywhere in Cape May County or New Jersey, a portion of the realty transfer fee is deposited into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund,” stated Sen. Michael Testa (R-1st). “I’m glad to see $2 million of these funds returning to Ocean City to support the construction of 10 affordable rental units for our seniors.”
“I am very glad to see the Affordable Housing Trust Funds begin to make a lasting impact on our communities in need,” stated Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, chair of Assembly Housing Committee. “This will be life-changing for many families and it’s only the beginning of ensuring good, quality housing opportunities for residents throughout New Jersey. I applaud the governor’s commitment and all of the organizations working together in the designated counties to make more affordable homes a reality in the state.”
Selected projects demonstrated strong municipal support participation in other state-funded community development initiatives, partnerships with private sector investors, sustainability/resilience, walkability, mixed-use, accessibility, and thoughtfulness in addressing gentrification.
The AHTF is allocated through three funds, all focused on creating housing for households earning less than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI), with preferences for providing units with deeper affordability. This project was funded by the Municipal Settlement Fund, which helps municipalities create smaller-scale projects that fit into the landscapes of their neighborhoods and assist them in fulfilling their court-sanctioned affordable housing settlements.
Applicants may be municipalities or developers supported by a municipality. Municipalities are required to provide leverage in the form of funding from their local affordable housing trust fund or, where there is no local fund, in the form of publicly-owned property made available at low or no cost, or some other form of investment. The maximum subsidy for a given project financed through the municipal settlement is $6 million.
In addition to this award in Cape May County, the Murphy administration announced the award of more than $19 million to housing organizations throughout the state through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF).
The DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including affordable housing production, fire safety, building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery and mitigation.
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