FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 3, 2016


Dr. Lena Frances Edwards Apartments Will Provide 64 Affordable Rentals for Families with Street-Level Retail Shops

JERSEY CITY -- New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) Executive Staff recently joined local officials and community leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of Dr. Lena Frances Edwards Apartments, a mixed-use community that will provide 64 affordable rental housing units for families at 445 Ocean Ave. Five units will be set aside for homeless individuals with a priority given to homeless veterans. In addition, there will be 2,300 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. 

Dr. Lena Frances Edwards Apartments will consist of a five-story mid-rise building comprising 12 one-bedroom, 36 two-bedroom and 16 three-bedroom floor plans. The ground floor will include retail space, a community room, administrative offices, lobby, bike storage and parking. The mixed-use project will contribute to the area’s revitalization and is, in fact, part of a Jersey City’s Turnkey Redevelopment Plan. Dr. Lena Frances Edwards Apartments is named for a famous African-American surgeon who worked with immigrants in Jersey City in the early 20th century. 

“The HMFA is happy to provide the capital financing in the construction of this mixed-use community, which will provide quality affordable housing opportunities for Hudson County families and a retail component that will help revitalize the area,” said HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta. “Dr. Lena Frances Edwards Apartments are a fitting tribute to the trailblazing namesake whose philanthropic spirit served as an inspiration to Jersey City immigrants in the last century.”  

All of the apartments will be affordable to persons with incomes at or below 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) including seven that will be restricted to households earning 30% and less of AMI. A full array of supportive services will be available to both special needs and non-special needs residents through multiple agencies including Central Jersey Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Women Rising, a local Jersey City nonprofit.

 Apartment amenities will include living/dining room, kitchen and a full tiled bathroom. Every unit is equipped with a self-cleaning oven, dishwasher and refrigerator. Community amenities include central laundry facilities and a community room. An onsite employee will be hired to manage the property and on-site service delivery through strategic partnerships with homeless and veteran organizations. The staff member and these partners will work with the homeless individuals and their existing social services case managers to develop a success plan for the residents.   

“This affordable, mixed-use development exemplifies the best of public-private partnerships”, said Karim Hutson, founder of Genesis Companies. “Genesis, in partnership with state and city agencies, has taken an underutilized site burdened with environmental ills and worked to transform it into a sustainable development that will house and provide retail services to working families and veterans.” 

In 1925, Dr. Edwards, a Washington, D.C. native, and her husband Dr. Keith Madison, moved to Jersey City, N.J. Both graduates of Howard University Medical School, each entered medical practice. Lena became a speaker on public health and a natural childbirth advocate while serving the European immigrant community of Hudson County. In 1931, she joined the staff of Margaret Hague Hospital in Jersey City, but her race and gender hindered her professional advancement. In 1945 she was finally admitted to residency in obstetrics and gynecology there. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Drs. Edwards and Madison had six children together between 1925 and 1939. She died in 1986 in Lakewood, New Jersey. There is a charter school in Jersey City named after Dr. Edwards.  

The HMFA, an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), awarded the project the extremely competitive 9% federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits which will generate approximately $17.3 million in private equity. Total development cost for the project is more than $17.9 million. The developer is Genesis Companies, a successful minority-owned urban developer. 

The approximately $17.9 million development cost of this community provides affordable housing opportunities for New Jersey families and homeless individuals, but will continue to have a positive economic impact on the Hudson County locale. HMFA estimates that the Dr. Lena Frances Edwards Apartments will generate approximately $28.3 million in one-time economic output, defined as the total value of industry production, such as sales and business revenues. During construction, the project will support 170 direct and indirect/induced full-time equivalent jobs, and generate more than $1 million in state and local taxes. When completed, the project will continue to add value to the community by providing more than $3.1 million in ongoing economic output, 17 direct and indirect/induced full-time equivalent jobs, and $179,000 in state and local taxes annually. 

Economic Impact Analysis figures were estimated using multipliers derived from a 2013 study entitled “Economic and Fiscal Impacts of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s Investment in Affordable Housing,” conducted by HR&A Advisors, Inc., a real estate and economic development consulting firm. 

For more information on HMFA programs, please call (609) 278-7400, or visit

Emike Omogbai
or Tammori Petty
(609) 292-6055