The Statehouse in Trenton
By Joshua Burd
State officials have awarded more than $22 million in new funding under a federal tax credit program for affordable housing developers, supporting 17 projects that will create some 1,200 units for families, seniors and residents with special needs.
The allocations, administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, come under the competitive 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. Agency officials say the awards will generate an estimated $214.7 million in private investment across the designated projects, which will account for nearly $325 million in development costs.
The developments range from a 32-unit project in Camden by Cornerstone Community Partners and Cinnaire to a 116-unit complex in South Brunswick by RPM Development Group, the HMFA said. All told, the funds will support nine projects with 678 units for families, five projects with 378 units for seniors, two projects with 133 units for residents with special needs and one project with 32 mixed-income apartments.
The agency detailed the projects Monday while also touting its new guidelines for awarding the LIHTC funds. The new guidelines place greater emphasis on locating housing in areas that provide children access to good school systems, creating on-site services in senior housing such as nurses and health-related programs to enable residents to remain in their community and emphasizing mixed-income development to avoid segregating low- and moderate-income housing.
“Low Income Housing Tax Credits make it financially possible to build and rehabilitate affordable housing for residents in New Jersey, which is why it is such a critical federal program,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who chairs HMFA’s board and serves as commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “Governor Murphy and I remain committed to the production of safe, decent and affordable housing through the LIHTC program and New Jersey’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund — these are the engines that help drive our mission to ensure that everyone has a place to call home.”
The LIHTC program, which was established by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, is the most prolific source of funding for new affordable rental apartments for residents. As the administrator for program, the HMFA awards the tax credits to developers to build new rental apartments or rehabilitate existing rental units for low-income households.
Investors who buy the credits receive a dollar-for-dollar reduction on their federal tax returns for 10 years. Developers, in turn, can acquire much-needed equity for their projects and consequently lower their debt burden, resulting in more affordable rents.
“The new policy changes that have guided this year’s awards continue to boost housing in areas of high opportunity and to deconcentrate poverty, making housing more affordable and accessible to all,” said Charles A. Richman, HMFA’s executive director. “These awards will support affordable rental homes in suburban, rural and urban areas, with access to good schools, supportive services for seniors and veterans, and provide for income diversity to build stronger communities.”
The agency added that, under the Phil Murphy administration, it has financed or awarded tax credits toward the creation or rehabilitation of more than 6,400 affordable apartments across the state, including more than 330 special needs beds, and an additional 440 market-rate apartments with a total development cost of $1.45 billion.
See below for information on the projects awarded tax credits in the 2019 round.