Administration’s Success in Unfreezing Federal Grants Helped Bridge Funding Gap
July 30, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora today held a groundbreaking event to showcase Trenton’s latest housing project, which will create 72 units of affordable and sustainable housing units in North Trenton in the Fall of 2021.
“We are turning a once vacant lot into affordable homes for over 70 Trenton families,” said Mayor Gusciora. “As a result of our success in restoring Trenton as a trustworthy steward of federal grants, we’ve been able to unfreeze millions of dollars in funding, including $800,000 in HUD Home Investment Partnerships money that helped push financing for this project over the finish line.”
The Patriot Village II project will include 11 one-bedroom units, 42 two-bedroom units, and 19 three-bedroom units, including housing reserved for homeless residents, with a preference for veterans. Every floor will include laundry facilities and each unit will include stainless steel appliances, high efficiency lighting systems, and open floor plans.
Trenton receives three entitlement grants each year from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, the Emergency Solutions Grant, and the Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME).
For years, these grants were frozen because of concerns that the city couldn’t properly manage the funds. Now that the administration has put in place the appropriate staff, consultants, partners, and expertise, those funds are once again at the city’s disposal. In April 2020, the city was able to use $800,000 in HOME funding to bridge the funding gap required for Patriot Village II project.
Bank of America will provide $18.3 million in construction financing and $14 million in low income housing tax credit equity to RPM Development for the construction of Patriot Village II.
“Developments like Patriot Village II are great examples of how we can empower local neighborhoods and further our commitment to the communities that we serve,” said Maurice Coleman, Senior Vice-President of Commercial Real Estate-Community Development Banking at Bank of America.
The project was also awarded low income housing tax credits from the N.J. Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency in the 2018 cycle. An award of $1.3 million was also secured from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York’s Affordable Housing Program to help finance the project.
All residents of Patriot Village II will have access to educational activities for children as well as wellness and health activities.
“This project will increase spending at nearby restaurants and businesses in the North Ward,” said North Ward City Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson. “We want to build a sense of pride in being a Trentonian. That’s why our community clamored for years to get a project like this one started.”
“After fourteen challenging years, we are very pleased to start construction on this ambitious project, and we look forward to having a positive impact on the neighborhood for many years to come,” said Michael Knab, Senior Vice-President of Development for RPM Development. RPM Development Group, one of the leading developers of affordable housing in New Jersey, focuses on renovating abandoned or vacant properties.
The Gusciora Administration was also able to unfreeze years of CDBG funds. As a result, the city recouped $1.5 million in HUD reimbursements and is now able use $3.75 million in CDBG funding to help restore youth programs, parks, senior centers, community recreation spots, as well as rehabilitate homes and provide first time homebuyer assistance.