U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today joined state and federal officials at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Paterson Park Apartments, an 18-unit complex that will provide affordable housing to homeless and disabled veterans.
"For all Americans, having so many of our veterans, many of who fought and were injured in defense of our freedoms, living on the streets is simply unacceptable," said Pascrell, who helped start Passaic County's first veterans' outpatient clinic in 2004. "That is why I have long been an advocate of federal programs that aim to provide our veterans with a coordinated effort that provides secure housing, substance abuse care, mental health counseling, and personal development in addition to job assessment, training and placement assistance."
The project received construction and permanent loan financing from the NJ Special Needs Housing Trust Fund administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency; a grant from the City of Paterson Regional Contribution Agreement (RCA) funds; the developer (Paterson Park Development LLC -- Lew Kadell, Steve Kalebic, Kenny Desai) is providing the support services funding.
Rental assistance is being provided in the form of 10 vouchers from the State Rental Assistance Program and 8 vouchers from Passaic County's allocation of federally funded Shelter + Care vouchers valued at $661,920.
The federal rent support funding is critical to the project's success because this project is for a population whose income is extremely low to nonexistent, and in order for the project to pay back the construction loan and pay the project's annual operating expenses, tenants need to have the rental subsidies. The Shelter+Care Program is run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and requires tenants to pay 30% of their income toward housing and the administering body pays the rest.
Veterans account for nearly one-fourth of the nation's homeless population and it is estimated that as many as 6,500 veterans are homeless on any given night in New Jersey. Additionally, many homeless veterans suffer from mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse problems. Homeless veterans are often trapped in an endless cycle of instability from the streets to shelters to public and VA hospitals to psychiatric institutions and detox centers and back to the streets. Paterson Park Apartments will provide veterans with a stable place to live and comprehensive supportive services which will help end the cycle of chronic homelessness.
Paterson Park Apartments is located at 601 E. 18th Street in Paterson, New Jersey. This location is in the City of Paterson's Fourth Ward Redevelopment Plan area and state-designated Smart Growth area. It is within walking distance to shopping, schools, employment opportunities, houses of worship, social services, recreational facilities, and a new train station being built under the New Jersey Transit Light-Rail Program, and direct bus routes to downtown Paterson and New York City.
Paterson Park Apartments is a 23,000 square foot "mixed-use" development which incorporates housing and ground floor commercial/retail space in a newly constructed four-story building. There are eighteen (18) handicapped-adaptable apartments in a wide range of unit sizes to accommodate single persons and families. All apartments have private kitchens and bathrooms, Energy Star appliances, window blinds, storage space, and hardwiring for cable TV and internet access. The residential portion of the development also includes elevator service, a community room, common laundry facilities, security features, and an office for property management and social service functions. The storefronts on the ground floor will be leased to retail businesses which are greatly needed in this underserved neighborhood.
The project will bring considerable employment to the city during its construction by hiring local contractors and workers, utilizing existing County/State construction industry job training programs, and using several local suppliers and manufacturers within Paterson to help maintain existing employment. It is anticipated that these commercial tenants will provide employment and training opportunities for the veterans living at the development and will create permanent jobs.
The City of Paterson and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency have committed $4.5 million in capital funding for the residential portion of the project.
All apartments will have project-based rental vouchers through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and Passaic County. Residents will pay no more than 30% of their income towards rent and utility costs.
Residents of Paterson Park Apartments will have access to a wide array of supportive services including: case management; education and employment programs; linkages to mainstream resources including entitlement programs; and linkages to health care and treatment programs. The Salvation Army will be the lead supportive service provider and provides linkages to services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Passaic County Department of Human Services, and other community groups. Supportive services are voluntary and will be provided at no cost to residents. Acceptance of support services is not a condition of residency.
The principals of Paterson Park Development, LLC are Lewis Kadell, Steve Kalebic and Kenny Desai. The project development team includes TDK Construction, Bleeker Architectural Group, and Monarch Housing Associates.
Construction is scheduled to start in June 2010 and will be completed in early 2011.