The City of Atlantic City is the largest and most important City in Atlantic County. Atlantic City is an older urban resort area which went through a period of decline, its revitalization began in 1976 with the advent of casino gaming. Atlantic City is an older urban resort area which went through a period of decline; its revitalization began in 1976 with the advent of casino gambling. From 1978 to 1990, twelve hotel casinos were opened in the City; in peak years, over thirty million tourists have come to the City for recreation.
The Atlantic City Consolidated Plan presents a strategic vision for housing and community development in this seaside urban area. It includes a One-Year Action Plan for spending approximately $2.954 million of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Program, program income, and Emergency Shelter Grant funds in 1995. These funds will primarily be spent on housing and neighborhood livability and viability activities.
The City of Atlantic City established a Housing Task Force consisting of representatives of the City, Atlantic County Improvement Authority, the Casino Reinvestment Development Agency, Atlantic Human Resources, the Atlantic City Housing Authority and Urban Renewal Agency and the Casino Association of New Jersey. The purpose of this group was to provide specific input into the Consolidated Plan process regarding what the priority of the City should be during the upcoming years. The expanded Housing Task Force met at regular intervals to discuss the common interests and concerns of providing affordable housing for Low and Moderate Income persons in Atlantic City. In addition, the City established a Strategic Planning Committee which included public and private sector participants. The diverse scope of the membership reached into the corporate, City and County structures.
Strategic Planning Committee meetings were held on a monthly basis with key officials of the various organizations. Two public hearings were held after being publicized in the local newspaper to receive comments on presented ideas or to hear new ideas.. The hearings were held on November 10 and 15, 1995. Before the second hearing, and for a 30 day period, copies of a draft Consolidated Plan were available for public review and comment. The City had a good turnout of citizens and non-profit groups at the public hearings.
The Atlantic/Cape May MSA has an MFI of $39,034, while Atlantic City, had an MFI of $27,804 in 1990; the MSA's Median Family Income is 40% higher than Atlantic City's.
Low Income households constitute over 60% of the households in Atlantic City. 72% of all Hispanic households are Low Income, as are 65% of Black (non-Hispanic) households, 54% of White (non- Hispanic) households, and 100% of Native American households. Atlantic City's Very Low Income households represent 35.0% of such households in the County. Extremely Low Income constitute 47% of the low income households in the City.
The White (non-Hispanic) population of Atlantic City declined by 5,940 persons, more than 33% between 1980 and 1990, while the overall population of Atlantic City declined 5.5% from 40,199 to 37,986. There was also a slight decline of 5% (943 persons) in the Black (non-Hispanic) population; however, this remains the largest single ethnic group in the City, constituting about 50% of the total population. There have been significant increases in the proportion of Atlantic City's population comprised of other minority groups. Specifically, Hispanic and Asian and Pacific Islanders. While there are persons throughout Atlantic City classified as racial or ethnic minorities, there are indications that minority groups are concentrated in twelve of the nineteen census block groups in the City. Concentration of racial and ethnic minorities occur in virtually all census block groups east of Texas Avenue.
Atlantic City's revitalization began in 1976 with the advent of casino gaming. The casino gross revenue has increased from $1.34 million in 1978 to $3.22 million in 1992. Casino/hotel payments of the Atlantic City Property Tax for the City Budget were $60.4 million in 1992, representing 69% of the total property taxes for the City.
Employment generated by the casinos produced a total of 40,837 jobs in March 1993, including 18,382 (or 45.0%) females, and 16,908 (or 41.4%) minorities. Although the casino industry represents a substantial employment market in the Atlantic City area, employment levels in the City itself have demonstrated an unusual trend. From 1988 to 1992 the unemployment rate increased from 6.6% to 16.4%. By comparison, the unemployment rate in Atlantic County went from 4.9% to 9.7% over the same period.
Three housing needs are identified by Atlantic City: the need for affordable rental housing, the need to increase the number of home owners, and provide increased housing opportunity for special groups and supportive housing. Another need is to increase the number of housing opportunities that has a planned service component attached to it.
The greatest need is for assistance to elderly and small families, particularly those in the extremely low income category. Because there is such a high number of renters in Atlantic City, steps should be taken to change the trend and to encourage home ownership. The high percentage of renters tends to de-stabilize neighborhoods, while home ownership creates a stable community. The City should establish a first-time home owner program as a means of encouraging existing renters to become home owners.
There are 21,626 year-round housing units in Atlantic City, of which 15,731, roughly 73%, are occupied, and 5,895 units, or 27%, are vacant. Less than 2,100 of the vacant units are for sale or for rent. Over 12,200 units, or 56% of the City's housing stock, are listed as either renter occupied or vacant for rent. The 10,839 occupied renter units represent approximately 69% of the total housing occupied in the City.
Approximately 46% of the total rental units (5,671 units) have been identified as Low income affordable units. Of the housing stock in Atlantic City, approximately 59% of all units (12,807 units) contain two or more bedrooms, and are considered family units. The remaining 41% (8,918 units) are zero or one-bedroom units, most often occupied by one or two persons, usually elderly or handicapped. The City reports that there are 5,620 units which are substandard. A total of 1,382 households in Atlantic City, or 8.7% of all occupied units, are subject to overcrowding.
Of the 15,891 households in Atlantic City, approximately 61.1%, or 9,705 households, fall in the Low Income category. Over 80% of the Low Income households are renters; the remaining 19% are owner occupied.
The City reports that 61% of the households (9,707 households) have been identified as either Low Income or Very Low Income, with 7,869 of these households identified as renters. There are approximately 5,234 rental units inexisting developments serving Low and Moderate income households. Of the 5,234 existing subsidized units in the City, 2,484 units are reserved for the elderly, disabled and handicapped, while the remaining 2,750 are family units.
Based on statistics, it is estimated that 5,353 households, or 34% of all households in Atlantic City, are subject to a cost burden greater than 30% of the gross monthly income.
Severe cost burden exists when gross housing costs (including utilities) exceed 50% of gross income. Based on information reported, there are an estimated 2,601 households in Atlantic City with severe cost burden.
The Atlantic City Rescue Mission reports that it serves an average of 269 persons per day, providing emergency sleeping accommodations for an average of 161 persons per day. As the lead homeless shelter provider in the City, the Mission estimates the homeless population of Atlantic City in excess of 1,000.
The Atlantic City Rescue Mission reports that between January and July of 1993, it served an average of eight families per day, containing an average of 2.25 children per family. The racial/ethnic composition of families served is: 70% Black (non-Hispanic); 16% Hispanic; 13% White (non-Hispanic); and 3% Other.
It would appear that providing additional facilities for alcohol and drug abuse treatment would be a priority item in serving the needs of the homeless. The second highest percentage of the homeless population (30%) is reported as suffering from severe mental illness.
The number of Public Housing units in Atlantic city is 2,013, operated by the Atlantic County Housing Authority and Urban Renewal Agency (ACHA & URA). There are 1,080 efficiency and one bedroom units normally held for occupancy by elderly or handicapped tenants. The remaining 943 units, 522 two bedroom and 421 three bedrooms or more, are classified as family units. An average of 25% of all public housing units are vacant.
A three million dollar rehabilitation of the Shore Terrace Apartments was completed a year ago by ACHA and URA. That project involved the rehabilitation and conversion of 40 large bedroom units to 72 two and three bedroom units.
Information provided by ACHA and URA and CRDA reports a total of 2,308 housing units in Atlantic City receiving Section 8 assistance.
The lack of available land and high land and construction costs have impacted upon the development of affordable housing in Atlantic City. Although the City of Atlantic City encompasses over 7,600 acres (about 11.5 square miles), only 2,500 acres, or roughly one third of the City, is developable. The land costs associated with development of new housing in Atlantic City are significantly higher than in nearby mainland municipalities. Construction costs in Atlantic City are higher than in other offshore locations for several reasons, most notably: regulatory jurisdictional overlaps; labor costs; and environmental conditions.
Court orders by Judge Weinstein of the New Jersey Superior Court in 1992, resulted in the Zoning Board of Adjustment being required to approve the continued occupancy of existing apartment units. The number of structures involved in this suit have resulted in an approximate six month backlog of applications for hearings before the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The City identifies a total of 2,166 children in Atlantic City as being at high risk of potential lead poisoning. Discussions with the Atlantic City Department of Health have indicated that many of the units occupied by the high risk children were located in the Northeast Inlet area; these units have subsequently been removed as part of the Northeast Inlet Redevelopment Plan implemented by CRDA. The current number of children at risk in Atlantic City is approximately 1,100. The Atlantic City Health Department annually screens approximately 30 units per year for lead based paint (LBP); the Department estimates that 30 to 40 children per year are screened as part of this effort.
Community development needs include the rehabilitation of the All Wars Community Center; the beautification and other improvements on Atlantic, Ventor, and Melrose Avenues; improvements to the end of Gardner's Basin to create a public park; street reconstruction to improve the infrastructure; the creation of a job training and higher education complex; supporting the management of neighborhood improvements; analyses of critical nodes of the Boardwalk redevelopment area; and hiring a job training coordinator.
Atlantic City has identified a strong need for affordable rental housing, the need to increase the number of home owners, and to provide increased housing opportunity for special groups and supportive housing. Housing objectives focus retaining and constructing affordable housing. Community development objectives focus on infrastructure; public & social services; handicapped accessibility; historic preservation; economic development; and lead based paint hazards.
Priorities for affordable housing include retaining existing housing stock and neighborhoods; rehabilitating owner occupied and investor owned housing; rehabilitating public housing; increasing the supply of affordable housing; assisting home buyers in purchasing affordable housing; establishing lease-purchase housing programs; and reducing the cost of housing production.
Priorities for homeless alleviation include increasing the housing and support services for homeless; adding emergency shelter beds; and producing more transitional housing facilities.
Priorities for non-homeless persons with special needs include increasing the housing and support services for special needs groups.
Priorities for community development activities include improving public facilities improvements (parks, recreation, and youth centers), infrastructure improvements (street, sidewalk, and sewer); reevaluating and improving public services (senior, handicapped, & youth services, health & child care services, transportation, fair housing & tenant counseling, and employment training); historic preservation; and lead based paint hazard reduction.
Priorities for economic development activities include beautifying targeted areas to attract tourism; undertaking an economic development effort to create new jobs; and to revitalize the Ducktown district.
There are two primary policies followed by state and local officials to reduce the number of households with incomes below the poverty line: educate and train individuals; and increase the number of employment opportunities.
The policy of training and education is addressed through a variety of public and private initiatives that include: the Diploma for GED Certificate Program; the "Pre-Apprenticeship" training program; the ACHA & URA is working with the administration to determine what education/training programs for public housing tenants; Atlantic City Youthbuild, a pilot program sponsored by the City in association with a private developer; Job Training and Partnership Act (JTPA).
The following programs will be used by the City to undertaken the housing and nonhousing community development activities: CDBG, HOME, Section 8, public housing, and Emergency Shelter Grants funds. Other resources include Project VIP, Casino Redevelopment Authority (CRDA) money; NJ Department of Community Affairs Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP); Section 108 loan guarantees; and Fannie Mae Community Home Buyers Program. The use of private funds through local lending institutions is also anticipated.
The Atlantic City Department of Planning & Development is responsible of the Consolidated Plan activities, but a wide host of public and private organizations are involved in administering plan components. At the State level, three agencies serve as the nucleus for the coordination and provision of affordable housing which ultimately includes the City of Atlantic City. These agencies are the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Council On Affordable Housing (COAH) and New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA). Locally, the institutional structure of providing affordable housing also involves three agencies: The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), the Atlantic County Improvement Authority (ACIA), and the Atlantic City Housing Authority and Urban Redevelopment Agency (ACHA & URA).
Atlantic Human Resources (AHR) has been designated as the non-profit Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) serving Atlantic City. In this capacity, AHR is eligible to receive 15% of the City's HOME funds for housing construction.
The casino/hotels in Atlantic City are the area's largest employers and are perhaps the greatest influence in the provision of housing in the City. Under State requirements, the casinos are required to reinvest a percentage of their profit into housing and economic development projects in Atlantic City for the most part, this reinvestment is channelled through CRDA.
The City of Atlantic City's One-Year Action Plan outlines the proposed use of approximately $2.954 million in CDBG, HOME, and Emergency Shelter Grants funds, in addition to program income. These funds will be spent mainly on an array of housing activities, including:
The housing rehabilitation activities have been targeted in the Bungalow Park, Chelsea and West Side neighborhoods. First-Time Homeowner assistance will be targeted throughout the City, however, the Chelsea and West Side neighborhoods are specified target areas. Homeless activities are focused on Bacharach Blvd. in the area between West Side and Ducktown. Community development activities are scattered throughout the City, while areas for economic development are proposed for Ducktown, the Uptown Redevelopment Tract, H-tract, and various specific critical nodes.
Atlantic City's housing goals for the first-year include preserving the existing housing stock by rehabilitating approximately 100 units of owner-occupied and investor housing to stabilize neighborhoods; increasing the supply of affordable housing by creating 100 units of rental or owner-occupied low- and moderate-income units; promoting home ownership by making 5 to 7 units available through the lease-purchase program; making available 39 scattered site units to public housing tenants; creating 10 shelter beds; and six transitional housing units.
MAP 1 is a map showing the projects.
MAP 2 is a map showing projects and an outline of the low/mod areas.
MAP 3 is a map showing the outline of the low/mod areas and areas of minority concentrations.
MAP 4 is a map showing the outline of the low/mod and unemployment areas.
MAP 5 shows a street level map of the low/mod area, unemployment, and projects in the central area of the City.
MAP 6 is a map showing a street level map of the low/mod area, unemployment, and projects in the northeastern area of the City.