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Affordable housing highlighted in Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE — Jacob’s Landing redevelopment plan, an affordable residential community on the site of the former Woodbridge Gardens public housing complex on Bunns Lane, took center stage as Governor Chris Christie announced enhancing new job-creating and rental, home ownership opportunities.

Christie and Charles Richman, Department of Community Affairs commissioner, visited the site on Aug. 25 to highlight the second phase of the Woodbridge Garden Apartments, a 150-unit public housing complex to help preserve and rehabilitate federally subsidized units.

“I’m here today because Woodbridge is an example of how when people work together across party lines great things can be accomplished,” Christie said, recognizing Woodbridge Mayor John E. McCormac’s work on rehabilitating the site.

The governor said 46 of the units will cost tenants 30 percent of their incomes, and five are set aside for homeless individuals and their families.

“[This way, the homeless individuals] can end that cycle of homelessness and begin to give their families some stability that comes from a good place to live and great place to sleep every night,” Christie said. “It’s projects like these that continue our commitment to reduce homelessness in New Jersey.”

All units in the Woodbridge Garden Apartments will be affordable to those earning under 60 percent of area median income.

In April, Woodbridge Township officials broke ground on the redevelopment of the site. The entire project is funded through federal and state grants, housing development programs and private investment.

Like Jacob’s Landing, Christie said there will be new construction and rehabilitation of more than 4,450 rental units across New Jersey that officials said will generate more than $1 billion in development investments and create 9,500 construction-related jobs.

“My administration remains committed to creating high-quality affordable housing opportunities in New Jersey in all areas where it makes sense for everyone, and that is essential to our comprehensive effort to attract and retain generations of families and employers,” Christie said. “We continue to find creative ways to leverage federal, state, local and private resources to accomplish this from Atlantic County to Bergen County, and everywhere in between, for tens of thousands of people.”

By the end of this year, the Christie administration will have created nearly 36,000 housing opportunities throughout the state, including approximately 26,000 units of multifamily rental housing, 2,000 housing units for special needs populations and roughly 8,000 for-sale homeownership opportunities through New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s (HMFA) single family mortgage products and single family construction loan programs.

“The State is proud to have helped steer these projects to completion through our financing and various partnerships,” Richman said. “Today the state takes an additional step to address affordable housing. The developments funded by these programs will enhance the quality of life for New Jerseyans while supporting job growth and aiding low-income families in their time of need.”

Included in the announcement is the award of nearly $40 million in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) through the NJHMA. These competitive awards, which represent the single largest announcement of awards in New Jersey since the inception of the program, will fund 2,175 units within 29 projects in 14 counties across the state.

“The steps that the NJHMFA has taken to broaden the impact of using tax credits as a development tool to create affordable housing across the state have opened the door to thousands of residents, not only improving their lives, but the greater community as well,” said the agency’s Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta.

Additionally, $250 million in volume cap tax exempt bonds is being awarded to finance construction costs of 2,275 units. This mortgage financing will be leveraged with the final portion of $60 million in Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing under Superstorm Sandy Community Development Block Grant — Disaster Relief to construct 304 units in the nine most impacted counties.

Previously this year, the administration announced $150 million in volume cap awards to construct or rehabilitate over 1,860 units. These 11 projects have total development costs which exceed $425 million.

In total, over 6,300 rental housing units have been awarded by the Christie Administration in 2017. Over 5,600 units will be affordable to individuals and families earning under 60 percent of area median income; 3,800 will be affordable for families, 1,400 will be affordable for seniors at least 55 years old, and 400 will be affordable to individuals and families with special needs. An additional 700 rental housing units will be market rate housing.

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