Newark Mayor speaks to a city resident in September 2018 — Courtesy: City of Newark Press Office
By Joshua Burd
The federal government has awarded more than $24 million to the city of Newark to fund a series of major capital improvements to public housing properties.
The city and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last week announced the funding, which will help address a backlog of repairs and other housing needs. Awarded under the HUD Capital Fund Program, the upgrades will include roof work at senior citizen high-rises, elevator modernization and a long list of other improvements, along with full rehabilitation of hundreds of vacant apartments at various properties.
Officials did not specify the locations of the repairs in the announcement last week, but said the Newark Housing Authority has commissioned physical needs assessments for every property in order to have a thorough overview of its capital needs.
“We thank New Jersey’s Congressional delegation for responding to the needs of Newark’s residents for quality housing that they can afford,” Newark Mayor Baraka said. “These funds will be a big help to Newark in upgrading the condition of our public housing and expanding the availability of decent, safe and sanitary public housing apartments.”
The HUD Capital Fund Grant Program is used to build, repair, renovate or modernize public housing in communities across the nation, according to a news release. The agency cited a third-party independent study released in 2011, which identified an estimated $25.6 billion in large-scale repairs that were needed across the nation.
The Newark Housing Authority, which oversees more than 12,000 units and is the largest such agency in New Jersey, has a backlog of hundreds of vacant apartments waiting for funding, the news release said. Other expected repairs will include replacement of weak apartment floors, rehab of leaking underground steam pipes, cyclical painting of hundreds of units, parking lot repaving and replacement of faucets and water service lines.
The authority also outlined needs such as new heavy snow removal equipment and trash compactors for the city’s new recycling program.
“The Newark Housing Authority has made a commitment to improve the quality of life throughout all our complexes,” said Vincent Cirilo, the housing authority’s executive director. “This capital investment comes at the right time as we seek to address the physical condition of our existing properties and put more apartments back into service.”