N.J. housing association launches Jumpstart Program to help BIPOC developers close state’s racial wealth gap

The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, with the support of the state’s Department of Community Affairs, on Monday announced the launch of a new program providing comprehensive training and certification for quality affordable housing production. Available to nonprofit community developers with a focus on Black, indigenous, people of color, or BIPOC, developers, the Jumpstart Program focuses on homeownership development to help close New Jersey’s racial wealth gap.

“Homeownership is the single largest mechanism by which families create and maintain wealth,” Staci Berger, CEO and president of the network, said. “Unfortunately, a severe shortage of affordable homes has perpetuated New Jersey’s racial wealth gap, harming residents and communities of color. We’re very excited to launch Jumpstart to support BIPOC developers with the training and tools to succeed and boost New Jersey’s stock of affordable homes.”

Supported by the New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Jumpstart Program is a multiyear program that will be available to organizations, including those that have faced financial hardship and wish to grow or reestablish their development programs.

Rhonda Coe, of R.B. Coe Consulting LLC, will lead the initiative.

Utilizing experts in the field to serve as consultants, program participants will receive comprehensive training, stepping through all phases of the development process including planning, acquisition, financing and project management. Participants will also learn about developing a business plan, marketing tools, community outreach and preparation of potential homeowners through housing counseling.