Developments to Include Units Targeting Frequent Users of Hospital Services
TRENTON – The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) has invited hospitals statewide to participate in a $12 million innovative partnership program promoting investment in affordable and supportive housing in their communities.
“Individuals who are at-risk for homelessness or considered chronically homeless often struggle with medical and social complexities,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs and Chair of the NJHMFA Board. “By partnering with hospitals in New Jersey, we will together provide permanent supportive housing solutions for individuals experiencing homelessness while reducing costs to our public institutions. Housing is health care.”
Under the Hospital Partnership Subsidy Pilot Program, NJHMFA will match funding contributions from participating hospitals to provide much-needed housing for low- and moderate-income families. The developments also must include units set aside for special needs residents and/or frequent users of hospital emergency room services. Studies have shown that permanent supportive housing can improve the quality of life and health of frequent ER users as well as help hospitals save on emergency room costs.
Hospitals interested in partnering with a housing developer are asked to submit a letter of interest to NJHMFA by December 17 in order to identify potential projects based on criteria such as:
- A narrative description of the hospital’s vision of its participation in the development of affordable housing.
- Project location, including a description of the project site and proximity to hospital facilities.
- Hospital’s ownership interest in the land or real estate included in the project (if applicable).
- Information on how quickly the hospital would be able to enter into an agreement with NJHMFA to develop a construction plan.
- A description of the hospital’s potential funding contribution.
NJHMFA is urging hospitals to consider developing mixed-use/mixed-income projects.
“A stable living environment is critical to maintaining good health,” said NJHMFA Executive Director Charles A. Richman. “Hospitals serve as anchors in a community, and this innovative partnership not only addresses the need for housing that is affordable but also helps some of our residents who are most in need maintain better health through permanent housing.”
NJHMFA anticipates awarding three or four projects throughout the state. Typical projects would include 60-70 housing units and may include commercial space for doctor offices, clinics or other community uses. Ten units will be set aside for very low-income individuals/families, with the remaining units priced to be affordable to families earning less than 80 percent of area median income.
NJHMFA will provide subsidy funding of up to $4 million per project. The project financing will include the federal 4 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, which is administered by NJHMFA.
“Affordable housing can also serve as a platform for providing supportive services to improve the health of vulnerable populations, including the elderly, people with disabilities, and homeless individuals and families,” according to a report by the Center for Housing Policy, "The Impacts of Affordable Housing on Health: A Research Summary."
The frequent use of emergency services by individuals also can lead to high costs incurred by hospitals. Investing in the community through this program may help hospitals save significantly in avoided emergency room and in-patient costs after patients receive permanent supportive housing.
The initiative, announced earlier this summer, has been endorsed by the New Jersey Hospital Association Board of Trustees, as part of the association’s mission of improving the health of New Jersey residents and communities.
For more information on NJHMFA programs, visit njhousing.gov.