DCA & HMFA Help Fund Revitalized Affordable Housing Community in Glassboro, Gloucester County

 Whitney Crescent to Also Provide Permanent Housing to Youths "Aged Out" of Foster Care

TRENTON, N.J. – Whitney Crescent, an affordable housing community in Glassboro, is on track for completion in early 2012 thanks to mortgage financing and federal housing tax credits provided by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA), an affiliate of the Department of Community Affairs. Once finished, the community will feature 80 energy-efficient affordable housing units – five of which will be set aside for former foster care youths – on the former site of a blighted apartment complex.

"The benefits that come from building quality, affordable housing in previously distressed areas are threefold. These projects reenergize the area, restore pride of place, and encourage people to continually strive to improve their lives," said Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lori Grifa, who is Chair of the HMFA. "I am especially proud that Whitney Crescent will provide young adults who have aged out of foster care a place to call home."

Although the majority of housing units are slated for low-income residents of Glassboro, a unique facet of this project is the set-aside allowance for youth aging out of foster care. Five two-bedroom apartments in the community have been set aside to provide permanent supportive housing to youths ages 18-21, who have aged out of New Jersey's Child Welfare System or who are homeless. The HMFA allocated $500,000 from the New Jersey Special Needs Housing Trust Fund toward the creation of these housing opportunities for former foster care youths. Supportive services for the youths will be provided by Robins Nest Inc. through a continuation of existing funding by the Office of Children Services, Division of Youth and Family Services. These services will address the four life areas of housing, education, physical and emotional well-being, and employment.

Phases I and II of Whitney Crescent were dedicated yesterday at a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta, Congressman Rob Andrews, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and local elected officials. The first two phases consist of four attractive three-story buildings constructed on the former location of Bently Woods, which had been a distressed apartment complex beset by crime problems.

All 80 apartments will be affordable to residents at or below 50% of the area median income. Amenities include patios or balconies, walk-in closets, wall-to-wall carpeting, major appliances, and central air conditioning. Each apartment is EnergyStar certified and the community building has a 20kW solar photovoltaic clean energy-system.

"The HMFA is dedicated to providing accessibility to safe, decent and affordable housing to families in New Jersey. Revitalizing this severely neglected community provides residents of Glassboro with this opportunity while assisting in the borough's redevelopment process, which has been ongoing in recent years," said HMFA Executive Director Marchetta.

The HMFA provided approximately $1.5 in mortgage financing and awarded federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which will generate approximately $15 million in private equity to fund the development. The Agency also allocated approximately $4.7 million in Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) funds, which were made available to the HMFA through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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. TCAP credits are designed to activate affordable housing construction stalled by the economic downturn.

The Special Needs Housing Trust Fund is also administered by the HMFA and provides capital financing to create permanent supportive housing and community residences for individuals with special needs. 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 project was developed by Community Investment Strategies (CIS), a successful women-owned real estate development firm that specializes in the construction of affordable housing communities across New Jersey.

For more information on HMFA programs and mortgages, please call 1-800-NJHOUSE or 609-278-7400, or log on to www.nj-hmfa.com.