Funding Will Help Meet the Critical Need
WEST WINDSOR – To help meet the state’s critical need for permanent and affordable supportive housing, the Murphy Administration announced today a new $50 million initiative from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) which will provide funding for 400 apartments for residents with special needs.
The funding under the Special Needs Housing Subsidy Loan Program (SNHSLP) is the first major new funding source in seven years to provide supportive and affordable housing opportunities statewide. A key component of NJHMFA’s mission is to improve housing opportunities for some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens.
Funding for the creation of housing for the special needs population is extremely limited. To ensure that NJHMFA is able to provide funding for stable, supportive homes for special needs residents, the Agency will finance the new program through bonding and its own contributions. The new program will help meet the demand for affordable supportive homes while improving lives and building stronger and fairer communities for all New Jerseyans.
“We all know or help care for someone with special needs – whether it be a veteran, at-risk youth or someone facing developmental differences or mental health challenges. This funding will go directly to providing housing and compassionate care for these individuals and their families,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who also serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and NJHMFA board chair. “Governor Murphy and I are committed to finding sustainable, supportive housing solutions for residents, which is why we applaud this critical investment.”
Under the new SNHSLP program, NJHMFA will provide financing to developers of supportive housing and community residences. The program builds on NJHMFA’s former Special Needs Housing Trust Fund which had helped create quality affordable housing with needed supportive services for nearly 1,600 families and individuals since 2005.
The SNHSLP will enable residents to live independently with dignity in communities of their choice with supportive services as alternatives to institutionalization or homelessness which can also help reduce the impact on costs and resources.
The announcement was made during the grand opening of Freedom Village at West Windsor, which provides 72 apartments affordable to families, including 18 for residents with special needs. NJHMFA awarded the $19.6 million development 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) through its supportive housing cycle, which generated $13.3 million in private equity. The complex was developed by Project Freedom, a Mercer County-based nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering people with disabilities to live independently through housing and related support services.
“Today, we are announcing long overdue funding that will enable New Jersey residents with a wide range of special needs to live independently, in stable homes, integrated in the community,” said NJHMFA Executive Director Charles A. Richman. “Providing housing for individuals with special needs, like Freedom Village at West Windsor, is a challenge nationally and even more so in New Jersey, where housing costs are high and funding resources for special needs housing can be limited. This critical program will enable us to expand opportunities for residents with special needs to live and fully integrate into communities.”
The populations to be served under the SNHSLP include:
- disabled and homeless veterans;
- homeless individuals and families;
- individuals with mental illness, and physical and developmental disabilities;
- victims of domestic violence;
- individuals in treatment for substance abuse;
- ex-offenders and youth offenders;
- youth aging out of foster care;
- runaway and homeless youth;
- individuals with AIDS/HIV;
- individuals 18 years and over coming out of nursing homes; and
- individuals in other emerging special needs groups identified by state agencies
The SNHSLP financing, in the form of loans, is available to eligible not-for-profit and for-profit developers, as well as government entities at the state, county and local level for new construction or the rehabilitation of housing. Since program funding is limited, NJHMFA has established priorities for determining projects. Developments must maximize long-term affordability of at least 30 years; minimize temporary or permanent displacement; and demonstrate appropriate location and design.
For special needs-only developments, the maximum loan amount many not exceed $500,000. For multifamily projects, the maximum loan amount many not exceed $125,000 per unit, with a maximum of five units per project. Developers/sponsors proposing a project must identify the target population and a service provider agency for the project.
Guidelines are available for developers interested in applying for the funding.
NJHMFA is a leader in the creation and rehabilitation of affordable housing opportunities for families, seniors and special needs residents statewide through its loan financing and bond programs; mortgage, down payment and closing costs assistance; and the award of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits. NJHMFA does not rely on any direct funding from the New Jersey State Treasury to meet its core operating or administrative expenses. For more information on NJHMFA, visit njhousing.gov.