Since the creation of the New Jersey Housing Finance Agency (NJHFA) and the New Jersey Mortgage Finance Agency (NJMFA) in the late 1960s, our focus has been on creating homes for families seeking affordable rental housing; developing independent living opportunities for people with disabilities and special needs; providing stable homes for seniors on fixed incomes; and providing assistance to help residents buy their own homes.
More than three decades after the merger of these two entities on January 17, 1984, NJHMFA is at the forefront of housing in the state through loan financing and bond programs; mortgage, down payment and closing costs assistance; and allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits to create housing that is affordable to our residents.
In 2019, NJHMFA was instrumental in creating 4,978 units of affordable housing with a total development value of nearly $1 billion. $414 million of the financial support was the result of NJHMFA’s awarding federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs).
Financing for these developments included $423.2 million in agency, state and federal financing throughout New Jersey – in urban, suburban and rural communities to create and preserve housing for individuals and families, seniors and special needs residents.
Working with our development partners, this financing will result in the development of 38 multifamily rental developments and nine dedicated homes for special needs residents.
In 2019, first-time homebuyers faced an uphill climb in the search for affordable places to live in New Jersey. Inventory remained low. Rents and home prices continued to rise. According to the New Jersey Realtors Association, overall single-family housing affordability decreased between 2018 and 2019.
Yet for many prospective homebuyers, a monthly mortgage payment is comparable to their current rental payment; income is, in these cases, not the primary barrier to homeownership. Instead, the biggest challenge is accumulating the funds needed to cover the down payment and closing costs, especially when we consider the weighty financial burdens posed by student loans and other forms of debt.
NJHMFA’s $10,000 Down Payment Assistance Program provides qualified first-time homebuyers a zero-interest, forgivable loan, which enables buyers to overcome this major barrier to homeownership. The DPA program reduces strain on the homebuyers’ existing financial resources, translates into immediate equity for low- and moderate-income households, and helps to ensure stable footing as buyers become homeowners.
The Foreclosure Mediation Assistance Program (FMAP), administered by NJHMFA, works with the New Jersey courts to provide free foreclosure mediation counseling to homeowners across the state. This counseling provides them with guidance and resources to navigate this challenging process.
After five years of having no funding source, NJHMFA, through FMAP, brought housing counseling back into the NJ Judiciary Foreclosure Mediation Program. FMAP saw a ten-fold increase in families assisted between 2018 and 2019.
Recognizing the importance and effectiveness of housing counselors in helping families achieve better outcomes, New Jersey passed a law in 2019 that made FMAP permanent.
As anchor institutions, health care systems play a vital role in strengthening and growing healthier communities. Through our innovative and award-winning Hospital Partnership Subsidy Program, hospitals are able to invest in their communities, creating affordable rental homes for low- and moderate-income families, as well as residents with special needs and high utilization of emergency services.
We have pioneered a statewide model for health-housing partnerships and also set an example for the rest of the country. As Paterson Mayor André Sayegh stated at the announcement of the St. Joseph's Medical Center-NJHMFA affordable housing development in July 2019:
“We’re eradicating siloes and creating synergy in the interest of better housing and better health. Affordable housing is something we have to provide for Patersonians, and we want to keep families intact.”
From left, NJHMFA Executive Director Charles A. Richman, New Jersey Community Development Corporation CEO Robert Guarasci, St. Joseph's Health President and CEO Kevin J. Slavin, Paterson Mayor André Sayegh, New Jersey Hospital Association President and CEO Cathy Bennett,and Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver following the announcement of the St. Joseph's Medical Center-HMFA affordable housing development.
Dedicated to finding a solution to the limited financing available to create affordable housing for New Jersey's most vulnerable populations, NJHMFA launched its Special Needs Housing Subsidy Loan Program (SNHSLP).
This is the state’s first major new funding source in seven years to help meet its critical need for permanent and affordable supportive housing. This new program will enable New Jersey residents with a wide range of special needs to live independently, in stable homes, and be integrated into the community.
Populations to be served under the SNHSLP:
• disabled and homeless veterans;
• homeless individuals and families;
• individuals with mental illness, and physical
and developmental disabilities;
• victims of domestic violence and youth aging
out of foster care;
• individuals in treatment for substance abuse;
• formerly-incarcerated individuals
• other vulnerable and emerging special needs
groups in the state
The construction of affordable housing committed in 2019 will have both direct and indirect economic effects. Accounting for the ripple effects of housing development through local economies, the total economic impact of affordable housing construction for projects committed in 2019 will be roughly $2 billion. Construction will produce 11,550 jobs statewide and generate total earnings of $806 million.
The benefits don’t stop there. Affordable housing has not only one-time economic effects as it is constructed, but on-going economic effects throughout the life of the project. NJHMFA projects committed in 2019 will generate $73 million annually in economic impact once they are developed and sustain 350 jobs per year that will generate $22 million in earnings annually.
The average household living in an apartment financed by NJHMFA in 2019 will save over $3,300 by paying below-market-rate rent and saving on housing costs. When totaled across the state, this will amount to $13.8 million in added disposable income for New Jersey households every year!
What’s more, affordable housing pays dividends for the state itself. The one-time income, sales, and business tax revenue generated by 2019 NJHMFA-financed housing construction will amount to $8.9 million.
That same housing will generate a total of $1.6 million in state tax revenue each year of operation—tax revenue that gets recycled to improve schools, infrastructure and transit, and fund important social programs.
The projects that NJHMFA has financed in 2019 will have economic impacts far and wide in the state of New Jersey.