Rendering of a proposed affordable housing in Newark (City of Newark image)

Mayor Ras J. Baraka today announced the first seven projects to be built under Affordable Newark, a new housing initiative targeted to average Newark families earning $32,000 and less. Preference was given to minority and women developers, projects with minority co-developers and small-scale developments of 30 units or less. In May 2021, Mayor Baraka announced the investment of $20 million in the program.

Among the developments are renovation of an existing vacant 75-unit vacant apartment complex containing two midrise buildings on Stratford Place in the South Ward; permanent housing on 3rd Avenue in the East Ward for veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless; and construction of affordable housing for those aged 55 and older on Thomas Street in the East Ward. The list of Affordable Newark RFP awardees is attached. 

“Fifty-nine percent of all Newark renters are cost-burdened, spending more than a third of their incomes for housing, and one-third must spend more than half of their incomes for a place to live,” said Mayor Baraka. “Today’s announcement is another step toward our goal of a more equitable city by prioritizing housing in every ward of Newark that the average resident can afford.”

The New RFP issued today prioritizes the North and West Wards. While the recent Rutgers CLiME “Homes Beyond Reach” local assessment cites those two wards as most in need of affordable housing, unfortunately, those wards failed to receive responsive proposals under the initial Affordable Newark RFP. In response to the CLiME report, a subsequent set of Newark Equitable Growth Advisory Commission recommendations on affordable housing, and the dearth of responsive proposals for the North and West Wards, in this RFP, Mayor Baraka has focused on projects specifically in the two Wards.

Under the new RFP, there is approximately $6 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Federal, and Local trust fund dollars available. Developers can apply for these funds based on the following criteria: 

·         City funding is only provided to produce units @ 30% or less AMI.

·         Units above 30% AMI must be funded with other sources other than city funds (ARP, federal or local trust funds).

·         City funds can finance up to 50% of the per unit cost.

·         City funds can finance 50% Total Development Cost if project has 100% of units at 30% or less AMI.

·         If project is 100% at 30% or less AMI, the project cannot exceed 30 units and must include on site supportive services.

·         The project can be mixed income.

·         Preference to Minority Business Enterprises/Women Business Enterprises/local developers and/or joint ventures with minority co-developers.

·         Preference for projects that produce units with at least 2 bedrooms.

·         Affordability period must be a minimum of 20 years.

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