More than $5 Million to Provide Rental Assistance and Supportive Services to People with Disabilities
Trenton, NJ – March 12, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Christie Administration today announced that the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA), an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS), has received $5,099,229 in rental assistance funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This funding will provide permanent affordable rental housing to 206 New Jersey residents with disabilities who are moving from a state institution or at risk of institutionalization. The support is made possible through HUD’s Section 811 Project Rental Assistance (PRA) demonstration program and will assist the State of New Jersey to fulfill its Olmstead obligations by stimulating, supporting, and advancing the availability of jntegrated, permanent affordable housing.
New Jersey is one of 25 states to receive a portion of the $150 million in funding available through the Section 811 PRA program. The vouchers will be used towards existing, as well as future, Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) rental housing developments administered by HMFA.
“Governor Christie is committed to helping integrate people with special needs into community life as much as possible. This federal funding will help the state accomplish this worthwhile goal,” said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III. “The Department of Community Affairs is committed to getting eligible New Jerseyans the housing and supportive services they need to live independently.”
The rents for 156 units receiving Section 811 PRA have been set at 34 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) and the remaining 50 have been set at 50 percent of AMI to ensure that the funding can assist as many people as possible. Of the total 206 rental assistance vouchers DHS and the DCA have committed half or 103 as leverage for the 811 PRA. All 103 vouchers of project-based rental assistance will have admission preferences specifically for the target population of the 811 PRA.
“We have a social responsibility to provide permanent supportive housing for individuals with disabilities who can live on their own yet are unnecessarily institutionalized or face homelessness,” said HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta. “Now, more of these deserving residents will have the opportunity to live in environments that offer them an independent lifestyle and access to supportive services.”
To ensure the successful transition to housing, DHS will provide extensive services to individuals leaving developmental centers and psychiatric hospitals, as well as those at risk of institutionalization. All supportive services are voluntary and are not a requirement for tenancy for both the 811 PRA units and the leveraged vouchers.
“The Department of Human Services is delighted that this multi-state agency collaboration will result in additional community placement opportunities for individuals with disabilities,” said DHS Acting Commissioner Elizabeth Connolly. “These vouchers will provide a level of independence and freedom that comes with having a place to call your own.”
To facilitate the smooth implementation and operation of the PRA, working groups comprised of the HMFA, DCA and DHS will be established.
This funding supports New Jersey’s obligations under the guiding principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the landmark 1999 Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., which helps states and local governments to provide services in the most integrated settings appropriate to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities.
HMFA provides capital for affordable housing opportunities for New Jersey residents. Over the past 30 years, HMFA has financed 76,615 affordable multifamily rental units and 2,460 supportive housing units, while managing 45,901 rental vouchers and 82,906 units in its property management and contract administration portfolios. The 811 PRA rental subsidies would build on the State of New Jersey’s productive Olmstead initiative, expediting the integration of people with disabilities into the community.
DCA is a state agency created to provide administrative guidance, financial support and technical assistance to local governments, community development organizations, businesses and individuals to improve the quality of life in New Jersey.