NJHMFA seeks N.J. hospitals for $12M supportive housing partnership

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency announced Wednesday it is inviting hospitals throughout New Jersey to participate in a $12 million innovation partnership program.

The hospitals that utilize the program will have access to funds to promote 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,” Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver, commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs and chair of the NJHMFA board, said.  “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 housing for low- and moderate-income families. The program also requires units set aside for special needs residents, the NJHMFA said, and/or frequent users of hospital emergency room services.

“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 said it anticipates awarding three or four projects throughout the state. Each project would be provided funding of up to $4 million, which will also include the federal 4 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.

A typical project, the NJHMFA said, would include 60 to 70 housing units — 10 of which would be set aside for low-income families — and commercial space for doctors, clinics or other uses.

“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.”