By Joshua Burd
The city of Newark has issued a call for experienced contractors, developers and nonprofits for a new program to make housing more affordable and, in the process, expand opportunities for minority- and women-owned firms in real estate.
The municipality on Monday said it has issued a request for qualifications for what it described as an equitable growth housing initiative. With a focus on developing or renovating multifamily buildings and homes that residents can own, the proposal seeks to increase affordability and build wealth, while providing jobs and job training for Newark residents.
The initiative, Equitable Investments in Newark Communities, is a response to reports by the Rutgers Center on Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice that document the enormous wealth gap between white families and families of color in New Jersey, the city said. The reports also found that homeownership, the major path for families to build wealth, is being eroded in Newark by the widespread purchase of residential properties by corporate buyers.
“This initiative is an opportunity for experienced developers, contractors and housing nonprofits to participate in building an equitable future for Newark,” Mayor Ras Baraka said. “It is an important step toward creating more affordable housing, increasing homeownership, reducing the wealth gap, providing training and jobs for Newark residents, and expanding opportunities for MWBE businesses.”
Equitable Investments in Newark Communities will use properties acquired from the city, the Newark Landbank or private owners to build or renovate affordable housing units and sell homes to residents at affordable prices with low interest mortgages, according to a news release. The solicitation will prequalify general contractors and developers for construction and rehabilitation work such as construction of new housing, rehabilitation of distressed properties, and participation in home repair projects.
Applicants may be individuals and organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit, with the experience, financial resources and capacity to acquire, manage, construct, rehabilitate and maintain housing projects. The city is encouraging collaborative partnerships between experienced organizations and small, local minority- and women-owned enterprises — particularly contractors, subcontractors and developers — and nonprofit community development organizations.
Interested applicants that do not qualify individually may form joint ventures that will collectively strengthen the team’s qualifications, the news release said.
The city is hosting a pre-submission question and answer session at 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 29 at City Hall, at 920 Broad St. The deadline for submissions is Monday, May 1.
To apply for RFQ, visit: https://tinyurl.com/NewarkGrowthHousing2023