New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency

Christie Administration Marks Groundbreaking of Affordable Housing Project Assisted with Federal Sandy Recovery Funds

For Immediate Release:
September 4, 2014
Lisa Ryan
Dina’s Dwellings in New Brunswick Provides 10 Permanent Affordable Supportive Rental Housing Opportunities for Individuals with Special Needs

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta today joined local officials, community leaders, and representatives of Town Clock Community Development Corporation (CDC) and the Bergen County United Way (BCUW) to celebrate the groundbreaking of Dina’s Dwellings, a 10-unit permanent affordable supportive rental housing project for individuals with special needs in Middlesex County, one of the nine counties most impacted by Superstorm Sandy as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The project has been awarded federal Sandy Recovery funds.

The HMFA provided the project approximately $2.4 million in construction and permanent financing through the Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund (SSNHF), one of the three Sandy recovery housing programs administered by HMFA and funded through the State of New Jersey’s allocation of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery monies. The Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund provides financial assistance in the form of loans to developers of permanent supportive rental housing for low and moderate income residents of New Jersey with special needs.

"Dina’s Dwellings will optimize use of the historic First Reformed Church of New Brunswick by creating permanent, supportive and affordable housing for low and moderate income individuals with special needs, including those displaced by Superstorm Sandy,” said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, who also serves as Chairman of the HMFA. “Sandy recovery programs like the Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund help capture the unmet housing needs of special needs populations who are oftentimes more vulnerable in the aftermath of natural disasters due to damaged or displaced support networks, accessibility issues or increased cost of living.”

During the first three months of lease-up of Dina’s Dwellings, 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.

The project consists of the renovation and expansion of the First Reformed Church into 10 apartments, which will provide permanent affordable supportive housing for homeless individuals and or families who are survivors of domestic violence. The renovation will include the creation of a community space for educational programs and supportive services to tenants.

The site of Dina’s Dwelling is centrally located in New Brunswick near the business district of the city and various amenities and services, including two major regional hospitals, the NJ Transit train station and bus stops. Social services and case management will be provided to the residents by Bergen County United Way’s Housing Works direct service division.

“This special needs housing development will not only allow individuals and families with special needs to secure high quality affordable housing, but it will also promote social inclusion, integration, and an active lifestyle with great access to public transit and retail services of downtown New Brunswick,” said HMFA Executive Director Marchetta. “We are thrilled to provide the capital financing that will enable the development of Dina’s Dwellings, which will contribute a great deal to the local and state economy.”

HMFA estimates that the project, which will cost approximately $3.3 million to rehabilitate, will generate approximately $5.2 million in one-time economic output and approximately 31 full-time jobs during construction. Upon completion, the project will continue to add value to the community by providing approximately $582,000 in ongoing economic output and 3 full-time jobs annually.

The project will be developed by BCUW and the Madeline Corporation in cooperation with the First Reformed Church of New Brunswick’s Town Clock CDC. BCUW and the Madeline Corporation are Paramus-based nonprofit organizations, with over 60 combined years of continuous service to the community with the purpose of providing safe, affordable housing that serves families, seniors, and special needs individuals throughout New Jersey. The Town Clock CDC is a nonprofit that seeks to create a housing, worship, arts and community complex in downtown New Brunswick by refurbishing the buildings of the historic First Reformed Church.

For more information on HMFA programs, including the Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund, visit

Christie Administration Marks Groundbreaking of Affordable Housing Project Assisted with Federal Sandy Recovery Funds
High Res Photo

(L-R): Rev. Dr. Hartmut Kramer-Mills, Pastor of First Reformed Church; Ms. Rebecca Escobar, New Brunswick City Council President & Town Clock CDC Board Member; Mr. James Cahill, Mayor of New Brunswick; Mr. Anthony Marchetta, Executive Director, NJHMFA; Rev. Susan Kramer-Mills, Executive Director of Town Clock CDC; Mr. Jeffrey Venezia, AIA Principal DIGroupArchitecture, LLC