Mayor Fulop & JCHA Reimagining Public Housing; Multi-disciplinary Approach Creates Opportunities for Homeownership, Financial Stability, and on-site Resources for Neediest Residents
Working with Community, Holland Gardens Redevelopment Reaffirms Jersey City as a Leader in the Preservation and Expansion of Affordable Housing
JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop and the Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA) announced today a multi-disciplinary approach that is reimagining public housing to include opportunities for affordable homeownership while preserving public housing in a mixed-use, mixed-income community that will transform a nearly-obsolete JCHA site into a regional model of what innovative public housing initiatives can accomplish.
In 2019, the JCHA implemented a six-month, comprehensive visioning process with Holland Gardens residents to address the site’s aging infrastructure and further address residents’ needs. The Visioning Plan that emerged reconceives the housing complex as a mixed-use, high-rise community with one-to-one preservation of the existing 192 public housing rental units. To take the redevelopment efforts a step further, the city now seeks to enhance the redevelopment vision by introducing a new affordable homeownership component and is incorporating a wide array of onsite resources, including a new library branch and a Resident Services Office.
“We want to change the antiquated approach to public housing by creating never-before-seen opportunities for our residents to achieve greater financial stability and self-sufficiency, which is especially important in these incredibly uncertain times due to the pandemic,” said Mayor Fulop. “We are seizing this opportunity to not only revitalize the site but also to reexamine our public housing system and identify gaps. We will continue to work with Holland Garden residents to explore future plans and make sure we can bring critical resources directly into the neighborhood to best address their needs.”
JCHA ensures residents the right to return to the replacement public housing units, with the added option to apply for proposed homeownership opportunities. The new homeownership component would offer for-sale condominiums, at least half of which would be affordable.
In addition to preserving and expanding affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, a proposed new onsite Jersey City Free Public Library branch will offer an array of community-focused educational, cultural, and employment resources. The new library at the redeveloped Hollands Gardens site would house community meeting space and a Resident Services Office to be staffed by the JCHA’s Resident Empowerment and Community Engagement (RECE) Department, which currently works with over 40 community partners to provide needed resources to JCHA residents. Through its direct services and partnerships, JCHA’s RECE Department connects residents to resources and programming, including afterschool/ youth development, employment assistance, digital inclusion, food security, and support for senior/disabled residents.
The redevelopment would also include commercial space for a supermarket, bank, or similar commercial entity to benefit residents.
“Following our successful affordable homeownership program with Dwight Street Homes, the JCHA wants to expand affordable homeownership for low- and moderate-income residents, who face limited opportunities to purchase purchasing a property in the current market,” said Vivian Brady-Phillips, Director of the JCHA. “Now more than ever, housing affordability is a critical issue across the nation. It’s my hope that other public housing authorities will follow our lead by working closely with their municipalities and community partners to provide the resources necessary for residents to thrive.”
The Fulop Administration has been a champion for preserving and increasing affordable housing opportunities throughout Jersey City. Just last month, the Mayor joined City Council President Joyce Watterman to introduce an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, requiring residential development projects to include 20% affording housing units. And earlier this year, Mayor Fulop unveiled the first phase of construction on the largest mixed-income community in the region, the Bayfront Redevelopment project. With 8,000 units planned for the former brownfield, the housing development will be 35% affordable housing located along the Hackensack Riverfront. The Mayor also established Jersey City’s first-ever Division of Affordable Housing to ensure everyone has access to quality affordable housing.
The Holland Gardens redevelopment resolution will be introduced at the next JCHA Board meeting on November 4, 2020.
About Holland Gardens
Built in 1944, close to the Holland Tunnel, Holland Gardens is a family public housing site operated and maintained by the Jersey City Housing Authority. Holland Gardens consists of 5 low-rise apartment buildings containing 192 public housing units. In 2019, the JCHA Board of Commissioners approved a resolution directing the JCHA to explore and evaluate potential strategies for the revitalization of Holland Gardens in order to address the aging infrastructure of the site and quality of life concerns of residents.