JERSEY CITY – At-Large Councilman Daniel Rivera and Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson are introducing an ordinance at next week’s council meeting that will ensure Jersey City residents are given first priority with regard to the several hundred units of new affordable housing coming online.
The Affordable Housing Compliance Ordinance, which will be up for a first reading vote next Wednesday, establishes the city’s first ever policy for how affordable housing should be marketed, establishes a priority for Jersey City residents and creates a waitlist process, as well as annual monitoring mechanism.
“With the several hundreds units of new affordable housing coming online, we wanted to make sure that Jersey City’s residents are the focus of that housing and that there is a concrete policy in place to market and monitor the application and waitlist process,” said Councilman-At-Large Rivera. “There has been an emphasis on building new affordable housing and now this step will make sure all those residents who want a chance to live in that housing know about it and are given the priority.”
The ordinance establishes a waitlist process that will be maintained by the developer and monitored by the City’s Office of Abatement Compliance, who will also monitor on an annual basis all affordable units to ensure that the tenants are Jersey City residents and in full compliance with the affordability measures.
The developer must also provide the city with its marketing plan for review whenever a certificate of occupancy is issued. The city will be recommending private developers of affordable housing to advertise 30 days in advance the available units not only in English, but also in the other top five languages spoken in the Jersey City public schools: Spanish, Arabic, Urdu, Gujarati, and Hindi.
“Our community is a diverse one, so we wanted to make sure that all residents were aware of the affordable housing that exists and that they are offered the opportunity to live there,” said Councilman Robinson. “We have seen the great progress that is taking place throughout the city, but it is our responsibility now to make sure that all residents throughout the city have full access to this new affordable housing.”
As Jersey City grows, with nearly 10,000 units currently under construction and another 16,000 approved, the Fulop administration has made creating more affordable housing a priority and Jersey City now leads the state in the number of new affordable units. Shortly after taking office, the Fulop administration created the city’s first-ever Affordable Housing Trust Fund policy to establish criteria for and incentivize the development of affordable housing. And last year, Jersey City completed its first-ever housing assessment with Columbia University and NYU and subsequently used that data to craft the first-ever affordable housing plan in Jersey City’s history.
Together, these strategies have proven remarkably successful, as in the last three years alone, the Fulop administration has invested more than $6 million of Affordable Housing Trust Fund dollars and nearly matched the 1,255 affordable units created or preserved during the entire eight years of the previous administration. And construction is underway on two separate 80/20 mixed-income projects in downtown – the first in three decades – which will bring 165 units of affordable housing to the city’s waterfront district.