Community: Hoboken Announces Procedures for Over 100 Units of New Affordable Housing to be Constructed Soon
Dear Horsey & MSV readers,
In the near future, 115 new units of affordable housing are planned to be constructed in Hoboken and made available to the public under new procedures to ensure that housing is available to those most in need:
- 15 affordable housing units will be included within three different projects in Hoboken, the first such units required by Hoboken’s affordable housing ordinance. The three projects are at 600 Harrison Street (5 units), 1410 Grand Street (4 units), and 721 Clinton Street (6 units).
- 42 affordable housing units will be constructed at 7th Street and Jackson Street as part of a recently-approved redevelopment agreement.
- 6 affordable housing units for homeless veterans will be created as part of the redevelopment of American Legion Post 107’s headquarters at 308 2nd Street.
- 52 affordable housing units are required by the affordable housing ordinance in three recently-completed projects. The City has prevailed and is continuing in litigation to ensure that the developers provide the units as soon as possible.
“Creating affordable housing has been a priority for my administration, and in fact we may be the only city in the state to proactively and voluntarily implement an affordable housing requirement in new residential construction,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Our affordable housing ordinance along with newly adopted procedures will help ensure that Hoboken remains a mixed income community and that affordable housing is available to those who need it the most.”
The City of Hoboken adopted an affordable housing ordinance that generally requires a 10 percent affordable housing set-aside for residential construction over 10 units when an increase in density is provided. The City also recently adopted the Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan and a guidebook entitled “Administration of Affordable Units: Policies & Procedures Manual” to set forth the policies and procedures for placing eligible individuals and families into the City of Hoboken’s affordable units. The Affordable Housing Program will provide opportunities for both affordable units for rent and for sale. Additional announcements will be made when the first rental units are marketed, which is anticipated this spring (to sign up for announcements, visit www.hobokennj.gov/alerts). Applications will be collected through a website that will be made available at that time.
In addition to the units required by the affordable housing ordinance, all redevelopment plans approved during the Zimmer administration, including Hoboken Yards, Neumann Leathers, and Western Edge, require that at least 10 percent of new residential units be affordable.
Affordable Housing Program Frequently Asked Questions
As the first units become available, they will be “affirmatively marketed”. What does “affirmative marketing” mean?
It means that the City will advertise the units throughout the region to attract renters/buyers. The City has adopted a specific Affirmative Marketing Plan (as required by law) to make sure the “word” gets out to as many qualified and interested persons as possible.
What does it mean to be “qualified”?
To be eligible for a unit, an interested person must submit a pre-application to demonstrate that he/she meets a number of requirements as set by the State, such as maximum income limits based on household size. While there is no set minimum income level, there are maximum income limits and limits on how much of the household’s income can be spent on housing expenses. Maximum income limits and minimum income requirements can be found at http://www.nj.gov/dca/services/lps/hss/admin_files/incomelimits.pdf. In addition, whenever possible, the household must include at least one person for each bedroom in the unit selected.
How does an interested person apply?
Interested renters/buyers will be able to apply on-line at a website operated by Community Grants Planning & Housing (CGP&H). Visit www.hobokennj.gov/alerts to sign up for announcements which will be made when the website is available for applications. For those who do not have computers, CGP&H will work with interested applicants by phone and mail.
What happens after I apply?
The City will maintain two separate waiting lists – one for ownership units and one for rental units. When the first affordable units become available for rent or sale, a lottery will be conducted of those on the specified waiting list.
What happens after the lottery is held?
In general, eligible households with the highest lottery number will be contacted and given 24 hours to respond. If they do not want the unit or fail to respond within the 24 hours, although they will not continue to be considered for that unit at that time, they also will not be removed from the waiting list and will be notified of the next available vacancy. The lottery list will be retained for future re-rentals or re-sales, or as new units become available.
So my lottery number is picked! What’s next?
The interested household will be referred to the landlord/seller to view the unit(s) and pay an application fee, if required. The landlord may establish its own non-discriminatory criteria for tenant selection. However, such tenant selection criteria are permitted only to the extent allowed by State and Federal law, and must be the same for both affordable rental units and market rate rental units.
So I have found an affordable unit that I like – what happens next?
CGP&H will “income certify” the applicant, which involves a review of the total gross income for the upcoming 12-month period of all adult household members who will reside in the affordable unit. Gross income includes, but is not limited to: pre-tax wages, salaries, tips, commissions, alimony, overtime, pensions, social security, unemployment compensation, TANF, child support, disability, interest and dividends from assets. Child support & alimony will be calculated from decree stating amounts, whether payee is current or in arrears. All income information will be verified during the formal application process. The Manual reviews and describes all possible sources of and exclusions from – income as well as details the documents that need to be provided.
After that – For Rentals?
Once the applicant is fully income certified, the landlord is notified that it may execute a lease with the new tenant. CGP&H, as the Administrative Agent, will calculate the maximum rent allowable as permitted by the State, including lease renewals.
After that – For Sales?
Upon certification, the buyer will enter into negotiations with the seller and execute a Purchase Agreement that stipulates the terms of the closing (cost, items to be included in sale, etc.). All these terms are then set out in the Contract for Sale, the legal contract between the buyer and seller, finalizing the negotiations and setting out all material terms of the transaction. The parties then proceed to a closing whereby title to the property is transferred from seller to buyer and the affordable housing deed restriction, recapture note, and recapture mortgage are executed.
Both rental and sale units created under Hoboken’s Affordable Housing Program will be deed restricted for at least 30 years (for units required by Hoboken’s Affordable Housing Ordinance, deed restricted for 40 years) in order to ensure that the units remain affordable to low and moderate income persons wanting to live in Hoboken. While the units may be re-sold or re-leased, the affordability controls will continue to apply to the new tenants/owners. The applicant must maintain the affordable unit as their primary residence and they are not allowed to rent their home. When ownership units are sold in the future, the owner must contact CGP&H who will calculate the maximum restricted sale price and find a buyer off the waiting list.