Quality housing and access to medical care has long been shown to be the biggest determinant in health care.
On Wednesday morning in Newark, officials from University Hospital, L+M Development Partners, Type A Projects, MSquared and numerous public officials will announce plans for Georgia King Village, a project featuring 78 affordable rental apartments for low- and moderate-income households, including 16 set aside for homeless individuals.
The building will include a ground-floor clinic and hospital office space operated in partnership with University Hospital. This wellness center will enhance social services throughout the neighborhood by providing much-needed outpatient medical care to an at-risk population.
The $41.4 million project, sponsored by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, will receive $22 million in mortgage financing from NJHMFA, $1.6 million from the NJHMFA Special Needs Housing Trust Fund and $6 million from the Hospital Partnership Subsidy Program, as well as $3 million from University Hospital and $300,000 in HOME funds from the city of Newark.
Construction is anticipated to begin this summer and be completed by the spring of 2023.
When it is complete, those involved say Georgia King Village will be a life-changer.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who serves as commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs and NJHMFA board chair, said the village not only addresses homeless individuals’ lack of access to affordable housing, but it offers them lifesaving supportive services.
“This latest collaboration to develop housing opportunities for community members most in need will help break the cycle of homelessness in New Jersey,” she said.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka called the partnership a game-changer.
“In the future, we are going to see more collaborations between housing developers, public health institutions and the communities they serve,” he said. “By building safe, decent and affordable housing for at-risk residents, combining that with onsite supportive services and a community health care clinic, this collaboration breaks new ground. I expect that we will see more of this model in the future.”
The NJHMFA, an affiliate of DCA, is a statewide and national leader in providing and advocating for affordable housing and homeownership. The agency provides financing to developers to create quality homes and provides mortgage loans and down payment and closing cost assistance to help homebuyers achieve their dream of homeownership.
Under this award-winning program, NJHMFA matches funding contributions from participating hospitals to provide affordable rental apartments for low- and moderate-income families, as well as apartments with access to supportive and wrap-around services for residents with special needs. The hope is that it not only will slow the revolving-door use of emergency rooms by some — but care for the issues that cause the visits before the patients need an emergency room.
Justin Scheid, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Newark Field Office director, said breaking the cycle is key.
“There is a clear nexus between health and housing, and this collaboration will provide critical affordable and supportive housing to Newark residents,” he said. “The University Hospital project brings together efforts from federal, state and local entities for the good of New Jersey residents.
“It is a testament to and model for successful public/private partnerships in the affordable housing industry.”
The 16 supportive housing units that will be reserved for homeless individuals and families will be supported by project-based rental vouchers provided through the DCA. The project will also be a recipient of 30 project-based rental vouchers from the Newark Housing Authority.
To date, the Hospital Partnership Subsidy Program has also advanced partnerships with St. Joseph’s Health in Paterson and RWJBarnabas Health in the city of Newark.
Jonathan Cortell, managing director at L+M Development Partners, said he’s happy the firm can do its part.
“From Downtown to the South and West wards, our work relies on innovative public-private partnerships, and this is another great example of how government and the private sector can work together to address critical needs across the city,” he said. “We’re deeply committed to working with the city’s institutional anchors, and proud to work with University Hospital on this project to deliver high-quality health care services and affordable housing in the West Ward.”