TRENTON – The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) took positive action to benefit low- and middle-income populations at its December Board meeting, including approval of programs that will strengthen the state’s 2017 housing opportunities for residents struggling with mortgage payments and others in need of affordable rentals.
Topping a long list of agenda items, the Board approved guidelines for Home Seeker, a new mortgage assistance program, which will provide up to $20,000 to cover down-payment and closing costs for homebuyers purchasing homes in certain designated areas hardest hit by foreclosures within New Jersey.
In addition to the new Home Seeker program, this year, the Christie Administration received $114.5 million from U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program directed to the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) program. These funds will be used to continue existing HHF foreclosure prevention assistance programs and to fund a new down-payment and closing cost assistance program. NJHMFA currently offers two HHF programs known as HomeSaver and HomeKeeper. These programs offer up to $50,000 in assistance to qualified homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage. These programs will enable New Jersey – one of the nation’s hardest hit states -- to continue assisting struggling homeowners and stabilizing housing markets.
"This additional federal support will allow us to assist New Jersey homeowners by helping them to remain in their homes and prevent avoidable foreclosures, which will result in greater neighborhood stabilization,” said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Charles A. Richman, who also serves as Chairman of the HMFA Board.
In 2010, HMFA became the administrator of an initial allocation of $300.5 million to New Jersey from the Hardest Hit Fund. In 2016, HMFA was awarded an additional $114.5 million. To date, through its two existing programs -- The New Jersey HomeSaver Program and the New Jersey HomeKeeper Program -- the HMFA provided assistance to more than 6,000 households.
“The HMFA is dedicated to increasing the availability and accessibility of safe, decent and affordable housing to families in New Jersey,” said HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta.
In other Board business, HMFA approved a new mortgage financing commitment, which will provide for the preservation and rehabilitation of an existing affordable multifamily rental housing complex. The project, located in West Creek, Ocean County, includes 72 apartments for seniors. The rehabilitation is funded with financing through HMFA’s Conduit Bond Program and federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits.
Following the Board meeting, Marchetta traveled to Barnegat, N.J. to represent HMFA as principal funder at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the 70-unit Cornerstone at Barnegat senior housing community, a Sandy-funded project, built by The Walters Group.
“Heading into 2017, we continue to work to meet the critical need for affordable rental housing creation, especially in the nine counties hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy – Ocean, Monmouth, Union, Middlesex, Hudson, Essex, Bergen, Atlantic and Cape May,” HMFA Director Marchetta reported. “These Sandy projects utilize federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery dollars through the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing (FRM) Program. The FRM Program was created in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and provides qualified housing developers subsidies in the form of zero- and low-interest loans to finance the development of affordable housing in the nine counties the federal government designated as the most impacted by the storm. As always, we are ever mindful of the need to continue to replace rental housing stock in these Sandy-impacted areas so that displaced residents and others in need will have sound, viable housing options which are affordably priced.”
For more information on HMFA programs, please visit www.njhousing.gov