Photo Credit: Google Maps Mayor Fulop, Assemblyman Mukherji & JCHA Announce the Addition of Brand-New Public Housing in Jersey City for the First Time in 40 Years
Acquisition will Convert Bergen-Lafayette Building into 100% JCHA Affordable Units
Expanding Affordability with Latest Efforts to Add Quality Affordable Housing Opportunities for Low-income Residents
JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop joins Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, the Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA), and the Division of Community Development (DCD) to announce the acquisition of a 40-unit building on MLK Drive to be converted to 100% affordable JCHA units. The acquisition creates 30 new public housing units and also preserves an additional 10 affordable housing units that are set to expire. Despite public housing shortages nationwide, Jersey City is adding a new property to the municipal public housing inventory for the first time since 1983.
Located in the heart of the City’s Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood at 450 Martin Luther King Drive, Jersey City’s newest public housing building significantly expands affordable housing opportunities for families most in need with federally subsidized public housing units that will lower their rents based on incomes (no more than 30 percent). The resolution for an award of $215,000 from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund managed by the DCD to support the JCHA’s acquisition was passed unanimously by the City Council this month.
“This acquisition will have a significantly positive impact on the property, helping countless residents for decades to come,” said Mayor Fulop. “To start, we are creating 30 additional affordable public housing units to offer our low-income families. Second, it will increase residents’ access to community services. Third, this will improve operations throughout the site. Lastly, it will reduce the amount of rent public housing tenants have to pay so that they can live in a quality home they may not otherwise be able to afford for their families.”
This latest announcement further builds upon several major policy changes Mayor Fulop has implemented over the past year to increase affordable housing opportunities for residents in need. Just three months ago, the Affordable Housing Overlay was established to further build upon the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, to incentivize and grow affordable housing citywide.
The Fulop Administration’s strict rent control laws, vacancy decontrol, strong databases of affordable units, and critical inclusionary zoning laws are all part of the broader solution to ensure affordability and quality of life for all residents, regardless of income.
Additionally, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Fulop and the JCHA announced a multi-disciplinary approach that reimagines public housing to include opportunities for affordable homeownership while preserving public housing, becoming a regional model of what innovative public housing initiatives can accomplish.
Located in the heart of the City’s Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood at 450 Martin Luther King Drive, the acquisition of Webb Apartments is a testament to the Fulop Administration’s unwavering commitment to enhancing affordability and prioritizing residents’ needs.
“Housing is a human right. Leveraging federal dollars through this expansion of the City’s public housing stock and permanently dedicating these units as affordable is another example of the Fulop Administration’s commitment to ending homelessness in Jersey City,” said State Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, who has served as Chairman of the JCHA for 14 years. “As our city continues to grow, so too will the need for affordable housing options for our families.”
“Together, the JCHA and the City have found a way to create new public housing, which will allow Webb to remain affordable in perpetuity through investment of Affordable Housing Trust Fund and JCHA using its authority under the Faircloth Amendment to convert the units. The exciting news here is that we are adding more public housing for the first time in several decades, which is especially critical amid the growing need for quality, affordable housing as families across the nation struggle to overcome unprecedented economic hardships,” said Vivian Brady-Phillips, JCHA Director.
The mid-rise apartment building contains 1-3 bedroom apartments and substantial community space with a separate entrance from Oak Street. In addition, the street level includes 6,200 square feet of commercial space with separate storefront entrances along MLK Drive.
To fully acquire the building and convert the units into additional public housing, the JCHA is partnering with Jersey City’s Division of Community Development (DCD), which will allocate $215,000 in Affordable Housing Trust funds to convert 30 of the 40 units into federally-subsidized public housing and maintain their affordability in perpetuity. The remaining 10 units, which were subsidized with federal HOME funds during construction, will be converted into public housing when the HOME compliance period concludes. This allows for the affordable units to be preserved rather than becoming eligible for market rate. The City and JCHA anticipate that the NJ Home Mortgage Finance Agency and HUD will approve the acquisition and conversion in the upcoming weeks.
“DCD agreed to provide the necessary funding to make this dream a reality for the community by awarding 5 percent of the project cost to acquire the property. We hope decision makers at other entities see our commitment to collaborate so that they too can have similar outcomes, thus improving quality of life for all residents in our area,” added Deja Anderson, DCD Director.