Oct-14-2009 New Jersey's Special Needs Housing Trust Fund Wins National Award
New Jersey's Special Needs Housing Trust Fund Wins National Award
TRENTON - Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Acting Commissioner Charles A. Richman today announced the New Jersey Special Needs Housing Trust Fund won a 2009 Award for Program Excellence from the National Council of State Housing Agencies. The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) administers the Trust Fund, which is dedicated to creating affordable, permanent supportive housing units for people with special needs.
"The Trust Fund is a bold response to a critical state housing need. Money from this fund has helped provide housing and social services for New Jersey residents with disabilities, mental illness and lives scarred by domestic violence and absentee parents," Governor Corzine said. "Now, instead of seeing homelessness or institutionalization as their only option, more and more people with special needs have the opportunity to stabilize their lives and forge their paths to more independent living."
The Special Needs Housing Trust Fund is used to finance the construction of quality, permanent supportive housing throughout New Jersey in single-unit and multi-unit housing settings and in urban, suburban and rural areas alike. The HMFA, an affiliate of the DCA, works with for-profit and non-profit groups, as well as government entities that are committed to providing social service supports for their special needs residents. To best leverage the Trust Fund, developers are required to demonstrate that they have applied for all other available funding prior to applying for Trust Fund financing. The Trust Fund, which is a nonlapsing, revolving fund, will provide up to 80 percent of the capital funding for a special needs housing project.
"The HMFA has done a tremendous job administering the Trust Fund as evidenced by the number of supportive housing developments that have been built in recent years for individuals and families with special needs," said Acting Commissioner Richman.
Since its inception in early 2006, the Trust Fund has financed the construction of more than 1,100 permanent supportive housing units for people with mental illness, individuals with physical or developmental disabilities, survivors of domestic violence, ex-offenders and youth offenders, youth aging out of foster care, runaway and homeless youth, disabled and homeless military veterans, and individuals with HIV/AIDS. All of the housing units are combined with supportive services and rental assistance so special needs residents can better achieve long-term success.
"The HMFA is proud to play a role in creating quality, affordable housing for New Jerseyans with special needs," said HMFA Executive Director Marge Della Vecchia. "Too often the most vulnerable among us are forced into homelessness, substandard housing or waiting lists. The Trust Fund is helping to change that."
Some examples of permanent supportive housing projects financed by the Trust Fund include:
The Meadows at Oldwick in Tewsbury Township, Hunterdon County: The project is an 18-unit congregate living facility constructed on previously vacant municipal land that is home to physically and developmentally disabled individuals, as well as families with a disabled member.
Baldwin's Run Phase 8 in the City of Camden, Camden County: This phase of the project created 73 affordable rental units, 20 of which serve the homeless population. The special needs tenants receive support services from Volunteer Services of the Delaware Valley, Inc. such as life skills workshops, employment-related services, case management and referrals.
Irayna Court Supportive Housing in Highland Park, Middlesex County: The project is a new six-unit building for youth aged 18 to 21 who have aged out of the State's Child Welfare System or who are homeless.
The National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) represents its members in Washington before Congress, the Administration, and several federal agencies concerned with housing, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Treasury, and with other advocates for affordable housing. The Council's Annual Awards for Program Excellence honor state Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) for their outstanding public purpose programs, projects, and practices. Awards are made in six permanent categories: Homeownership, Rental Housing, Special Needs Housing, Management Innovation, Communications, and Special Achievement.
For more information about the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund, please log on to http://www.state.nj.us/dca/hmfa/biz/devel/specneed/trust.html.