DCA & HMFA Celebrate Grand Opening of 11-Unit Veterans Housing Complex in Highland Park
Project to Provide Supportive Housing for Homeless and Low-Income Military Veterans

HIGHLAND PARK - New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta today joined Middlesex County freeholders and other local officials to celebrate the grand opening of the Highland Park Veterans Housing Complex at 101 South Third Avenue. The HMFA, an affiliate of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), provided $1.89 million in construction financing from the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund for the project, which is providing supportive, affordable housing for 11 military veterans. Additional funding came from the DCA’s State Rental Assistance Program.

"The brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who have served our country during wartime deserve our utmost respect and appreciation for defending our freedoms and preserving our way of life," Governor Christie said in a letter read at the event. "As Governor, I commend all the organizations that contributed to this effort to provide housing and supportive services to our veterans in need."

"Unfortunately, many of the homeless in our communities are military veterans who have fought for our country only to find no one fighting for them and their needs. This project will help some of our veterans move into safe, affordable housing befitting their service," said DCA Commissioner Lori Grifa, who is Chair of the HMFA. "We thank everyone who was involved in making the Veterans Housing Complex the success that it is."

The developer, Reformed Church of Highland Park–Affordable Housing Corporation, converted an 82-year-old Gothic Revival church building into 10 efficiency apartments and one two-bedroom unit as part of its "Bring Them Home to Homes" project. In addition, a community room and laundry rooms are available for use by the residents.

"In this current economic climate, the HMFA is excited to help support this worthwhile affordable housing project," said HMFA Executive Director Anthony Marchetta. "The Highland Park community should be proud of the "Bring Them Home to Homes" initiative and the permanent housing it has provided the area's military veterans."

The University of Medicine and Dentistry-University Behavioral Health Care in coordination with the Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System will provide supportive services to residents, who will be offered on-site and off-site services as needed, supplemented by 24-hour on-call support. The supportive services will be individualized and flexible, inclusive of family involvement, and focused on the establishment of community-based supports and integration into mainstream housing, resources and services.

The Special Needs Housing Trust Fund is administered by the HMFA and provides capital financing to create permanent supportive housing and community residences for individuals with special needs, with priority given to individuals with mental illness. The purpose of the fund is to develop special needs housing and residential opportunities as alternatives to institutionalization or homelessness for those who would benefit from these programs and to ensure the long-term viability of such housing.

The State Rental Assistance Program, which provides rental assistance grants to elderly and disabled people who were either living in deplorable housing units or were severely cost-burdened, paying over 50 percent of their limited income on housing costs. It also helps formerly homeless households who were either living on the streets, in emergency shelters, or in transitional housing facilities.

For more information on HMFA programs, please call 1-800-NJHOUSE or 609-278-7400, or log on to www.nj-hmfa.com. For more information on the State Rental Assistance Program, please log on to http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/srap.html on the DCA website.