In early 2009 at the urging of President Barack Obama, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) with a view toward easing the blow dealt to the economy by what some are calling the Great Recession. The ARRA had a tall order to fill: create new jobs while saving existing ones, cultivate economic activity in both the short- and long-term —and in the words of the official Recovery.gov website, do it all with “unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in government spending.”
The act sought to accomplish this short-but-mighty list by providing some $787 billion in funding for everything from tax cuts to federal contracts, grants, and loans. The State of New Jersey received $61 million from the Act's HUD Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP), and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Financing Agency (HMFA) —an affiliate of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA)—was charged with administering the funds within the state.
Under federal guidelines, projects eligible to receive TCAP assistance are housing projects that received or will receive an award of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) funds during the period from October 1, 2006 to September 30, 2009 (federal fiscal years 2007, 2008 or 2009), and require additional funding to be completed and placed into service. Priority was given to projects that are expected to be completed by February 2012. Seventy-five percent of TCAP funds must be committed by February of 2011, and 100 percent of the funds must be allocated by February 2012, or HUD will recapture the unallocated balance. While the LIHTC funds will be awarded immediately, the TCAP funding designations are subject to HUD approval.
New Projects, New Opportunities
According to HMFA Commissioner Joseph Doria, one of former Governor Jon Corzine's primary goals was to implement more affordable housing development projects across the state. "These funds will help fulfill that goal,” says Doria, “and not only create jobs, but provide much needed housing for New Jersey families."
One of the new housing developments making use of TCAP funding is Freedom Village, a 60-unit affordable housing development located on Woodstown-Alloway Road in Woodstown. The project is being developed by Project Freedom, Inc., a Robbinsville-based non-profit organization that develops and operates “barrier-free” housing that helps enable individuals with disabilities to live independently.