Christie Administration Marks Grand Opening of Valley Brook Village Supportive Housing in Bernards Township
LYONS, N.J. - The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta, representatives from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) New Jersey Health Care System, Peabody Properties, Inc., Windover Development, Community Hope, and MetLife recently celebrated the grand opening of Valley Brook Village, an affordable permanent supportive rental housing project in Bernards Township, Somerset County, for homeless and at-risk low income veterans. The HMFA, an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), provided approximately $1.9 million in construction and permanent financing through the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund (SNHTF), and the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits that generated approximately $8.4 million in private equity from MetLife. Additional funding came from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and its member bank, Lakeland Bank, , and Somerset County HOME Funds.
“Valley Brook Village will provide permanent affordable housing opportunities for New Jersey’s homeless and at- risk veterans many of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and other combat related injuries,” said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, who also serves as Chairman of the HMFA. “Supportive Housing Developments like this that provide a non-institutional residential atmosphere to residents truly help to integrate into communities throughout the state.”
Located on the campus of the VA New Jersey Health Care System in Lyons, New Jersey, Valley Brook Village is a new construction of three buildings that provide a total of 62 housing units around a common village green. Among the housing units, 50 have been awarded project based housing vouchers under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program to provide rental assistance to chronically homeless veterans. In addition to permanent housing support, the program provides long-term case management and supportive services for the veterans. The HUD-VASH units are administered for HUD by DCA and VASH case management services are provided by Community Hope. The remaining units provide housing to homeless veterans who meet the income eligibility requirements or have their own tenant-based voucher. The three-story main building contains 50 housing units, offices for management and social services, a community room, a vocational training and computer room and an elevator. The two smaller buildings that look like townhomes contain 12 one-bedroom units.
The 16-acre housing community is conveniently located near shopping, community resources, and facilities, including two grocery stores, two pharmacies, two libraries, and medical services on-site at the VA Medical Center. The NJ Transit Lyons train station, a handicap accessible facility located less than a mile from the site, provides transportation to the entire nation via connections in Newark or New York. On-site, a van is available to transport residents to local shops and services, in addition to 70 parking spaces for residents, staff, and visitors.
Designed to be highly energy efficient and handicapped accessible, Valley Brook Village complies with HMFA’s own green building program called the New Jersey Green Futures Program that covers energy efficiency, renewable sources, siting and land use, water conservation, building durability, indoor air quality, operations, and maintenance, and complies with barrier free and accessibility standards. On track to obtain a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, the project features unit amenities that include high efficiency central air-conditioning and heat, and Energy Star-rated appliances.
Community Hope, the social service provider of the project, will provide case management services to all residents of Valley Brook Village, as well as programming and outreach coordination and vocational training, Community Hope is one of the largest providers of transitional and supportive housing in New Jersey founded in 1985 by mental health professionals and family members in response to a lack of therapeutic settings for young adults recovering from serious mental health issues.
“This project is an excellent infusion of quality affordable housing in Lyons, a wealthy unincorporated suburb in Bernards Township,” said HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta. “HMFA is extremely proud to have provided the capital financing necessary to enable the development of Valley Brook Village that houses and assists some of the most vulnerable homeless New Jersey residents who committed their lives to serving our country.”
HMFA is the administrator of federal tax credit programs for New Jersey. Low Income Housing Tax Credits are a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal tax liability and act as a catalyst to attract private investment into the affordable housing market. The Agency also administers the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund, established through the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund Act of 2005, which provides capital financing to create affordable, permanent supportive housing and community residences as alternatives to institutional or homelessness for special needs individuals.
The project was jointly developed by Peabody Properties and Windover Development. Peabody Properties, is a multifaceted firm that provides property management services for more than 10,000 units of residential housing with more than 4,000 of these units for elderly and or disabled residents.
View a documentary film about Valley Brook Village on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-WcUpxvD4c
For more information, visit the HMFA website at www.njhousing.gov or call 1-800-NJ-HOUSE or (609) 278-7400.