Newark residents will get 1st shot at new affordable housing units

Aerial view of the skyline of Newark, New Jersey.
Aerial view of the skyline of Newark, New Jersey.

Newark residents will get first dibs on new affordable housing units due to an Aug. 2 amendment to the Newark Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, Mayor Ras Baraka announced Wednesday.

The ordinance, initiated by the mayor and passed by the municipal council, will permit the city to exclusively market new affordable units to Newark residents during a 90-day period. This will ensure that more city residents can benefit from the affordable units.

“This is a step forward in ensuring that families who have lived in Newark generation after generation, and others who share pride in city residency, can stay here,” Baraka said. “Our original Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance was a national model for producing affordable housing. This amendment expands Newark’s leadership in housing innovation. At a time when corporate LLCs are turning affordable homes in our city into high-cost rentals, this initiative is creating new affordable housing reserved for the people who live in Newark.”

Here’s the background.

The city issued an RFQ last Friday, seeking entities to serve as Inclusionary Zoning administrators to administer the program under oversight by the Newark Department of Economic and Housing Development.

The role of Inclusionary Zoning administrators is critical to the advancement of the city’s housing goals, Newark officials said. The agent(s) responsible for the administration of affordable units will be a private entity, community organization or housing counseling agency, as qualified by the city through this RFQ process.

The administrative agent will create a process by which currently income-eligible households are selected for placement in income-restricted units. In addition, all units will be listed on the city’s searchable database,

Here is the info that potential administrators need to know:

  • Applicants can find the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance amendments, the Request for Qualifications for IZO administrator and corresponding RFQ response documents here;
  • Qualification statements submission due date is Oct. 5;
  • Qualified respondents will be announced Oct. 27;
  • For any inquiries, call 973-733-4882.

Newark officials stressed that the law requires that no preference may be given to one applicant over another, except for purposes of matching household income and size with an appropriately priced and sized affordable unit through a lottery system.

After receipt, review and evaluation of qualification statements received in response to the RFQ, the city of Newark intends to have qualified administering agents included on a prequalified list that will be published on the municipal website. This will allow owners to independently engage the services of an administrative agent at the owners’ sole cost and expense and without the city being a party to any such contract.

Allison Ladd, deputy mayor and director of economic and housing development, said the amendment will have impact.

“This amendment is one of a series of initiatives that Mayor Baraka has taken to make Newark housing more affordable for Newark residents,” she said. “These include a $20 million investment to support the creation of units affordable to Newark families earning $32,000 or less, the original Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, recent IZO amendments that increase the number of covered housing units, more than $20 million in Emergency Rental Assistance to help Newarkers impacted by COVID-19, the creation of the first land bank in the state of New Jersey and neighborhood development plans that prioritize affordability and the use of (Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise) developers and contractors.”

There will be a Zoom information session for respondents at 2 p.m. Monday. To join the meeting, click here.