Funds to Rehabilitate 367 Public Housing Units Damaged by Superstorm Sandy
TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III today joined New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta in announcing the commitment of approximately $7.2 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funding to two public housing authority developments in Jersey City, Hudson County. The funding will provide the construction and permanent financing needed for the rehabilitation of 319 affordable rental housing units for families and 48 affordable rental housing units for seniors.
“These funds will enable the restoration of public housing developments that sustained considerable damage as a result of Superstorm Sandy,” said Commissioner Constable, whose Department is administering the distribution of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds for the state and who also serves as Chairman of the HMFA. “This award is another example of the Christie Administration’s continued commitment to providing decent and safe affordable housing opportunities for the most vulnerable families in our communities.”
The $7.2 million in funding will be used to help rehabilitate Thomas J. Stewart Apartments and Booker T. Washington Apartments, which provide a total of 367 residential units in Jersey City.
“These two public housing developments are the first in the state to receive CDBG Disaster Recovery funding commitments, and we look forward to announcing similar commitments in the weeks and months ahead,” said HMFA Executive Director Marchetta. “The HMFA is thrilled to provide the capital financing necessary to assist in the rehabilitation of two public housing developments that serve low- and moderate-income households in our state’s second largest city.”
Rehabilitation of the two public housing authority developments will be financed through the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Public Housing Authority Set-Aside Program (FRM-PHA), one of four CDBG Disaster Recovery programs administered by the HMFA, which offers subsidies in the form of loans to owners managing large multifamily housing developments. Both apartment complexes meet the low- and moderate-income housing activity requirement of FRM-PHA by providing permanent residential structures to low- and moderate-income households upon completion. Jersey City Housing Authority, the developer of Thomas J. Stewart and Booker T. Washington Apartments, will use the FRM-PHA funds to make necessary repairs to the damaged units.
As a result of Superstorm Sandy, the boilers at Booker T. Washington Apartments were flooded, the maintenance shop and material storage areas were destroyed, centralized heat and hot water systems were compromised, and the electrical infrastructure was severely damaged. The scope of rehabilitation work at Booker T. Washington Apartments will consist of installing a new boiler plant on the first floors of all nine of its buildings, converting apartment units on the first floors into mechanical/boiler rooms, and relocating the electrical equipment in three of its buildings to the first floors to prevent future flood damage.
Superstorm Sandy left Thomas J. Stewart Apartments without power for a significant amount of time, impacting the building’s senior residents who could not get up and down the building’s floors since elevators weren’t operating and stairway steps were left without lights. The rehabilitation work at Thomas J. Stewart Apartments will consist of replacing the entire roof, which sustained significant wind damage, and installing a natural gas burning generator to provide emergency power for elevators, hallways, and common areas in the event of another natural disaster.
The HMFA is the designated administrator of four CDBG Disaster Recovery housing programs, which are assisting in the creation or rehabilitation of affordable rental housing opportunities in the nine most impacted counties as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These housing programs are part of the New Jersey Disaster Recovery Action Plan, which was approved by HUD on April, 29, 2013, and include the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing, Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing-Public Housing Authority Set-Aside Program, Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund, and Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program.
For more information about these HMFA-administered housing recovery programs, go to http://www.nj.gov/dca/hmfa/developers/cdbg/ on the HMFA website. For other State-administered programs created under the Disaster Recovery Action Plan, go to http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/sandyrecovery/index.html on the DCA website.
Booker T. Washington Apartments is a public housing development constructed in the 1940s with a total of 319 residential units for families spread over nine multi-story buildings. The development includes after school programs, maintenance shops, and administrative and off-duty police officers. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, parts of the development were flooded with five to six feet of water for a considerable amount of time, which caused damage to the buildings and utility infrastructure.
Thomas J. Stewart Apartments is a public housing development constructed in 1993 with a total of 48 senior residential units in one six-story building. The building has two large community rooms, a management office, maintenance workshop, and storage rooms. As a result of Superstorm Sandy, parts of the site went without basic utilities for a considerable amount of time, and the building’s roof sustained significant wind damage.