Jersey City Housing Authority acquires 450 MLK Drive to build 30 affordable units


The Jersey City Housing Authority has acquired 450 Martin Luther King Drive to build 30 affordable units, adding to their public housing inventory for the first time since 1983.

450 Martin Luther King Drive in Jersey City. Photo via Google Maps.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The acquisition also preserves an additional 10 affordable housing units that are set to expire. The building 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. To start, we are creating 30 additional affordable public housing units to offer our low-income families,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.

“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.”

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fulop and the JCHA announced a multi-disciplinary approach that reimagines public housing to include opportunities for affordable homeownership while preserving public housing.

“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 Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), the chair of the JCHA board for the past 14 years.

“As our city continues to grow, so too will the need for affordable housing options for our families.”

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.

“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,” added JCHA Executive Director Vivian Brady-Phillips.

“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.”

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,” explained DCD Director Deja Anderson.

“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.”

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