Jersey City is an older industrial city with a population of 228,537. Located on the Hudson River, directly opposite New York City, Jersey City experienced significant disinvestment during the 1970s and substantial "white flight," losing over 75,000 middle class white residents. Boarded up buildings are still a common sight. HUD economic development funds helped to drive an investment boom in the latter part of the 1980s along the waterfront, New Jersey's new "Gold Coast." The boom included new financial office space and new upscale retail and residential buildings. The office vacancy rate is among the lowest in the New York City area.
Between 1982 and 1990, Jersey City lost 38 percent of its manufacturing employment base, far more than the 22 percent loss statewide in New Jersey. However, it saw an increase of over 80 percent in jobs in the so-called FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) sectors. This far outstripped the statewide increase. The city also showed strong gains in service and wholesale trade employment. The service sector is now the largest employment sector, while manufacturing, traditionally the largest source of jobs, is the now the third largest. While many Jersey City residents lost manufacturing jobs and unemployment in the city increased, white collar opportunities, typically filled by commuters, grew rapidly.
The plan focuses on the housing needs of low-income renters, on housing for the homeless, and on social services. It also seeks to empower lower income residents to participate in the city's growing economy through neighborhood businesses. To meet these objectives, Jersey City proposes to spend $9,910,895 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, $336,000 in Emergency Shelter Grant funds, $2,050,000 from the Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS Grant Program, and $2,747,135 in HOME program funds.
The Office of Grants Administration, as lead entity, staffed a Task Force on the Consolidated Plan in July 1994. City staff, social service providers, housing developers, and business people participated. Every social service provider in Jersey City was surveyed to help evaluate needs. Two technical assistance meetings were held with potential grantees.
There was a public hearing at a predominantly African-American church, and one on a cable television call-in show. Two additional meetings reached out to community groups and public housing residents. The plan was adopted in April 1995 at a public meeting of the Municipal Council of Jersey City.
After declining since 1930, the 1980s saw a gain of just over 2 percent in Jersey City's population. It is expected to be New Jersey's largest city by the late 1990s. Immigration has been and continues to be a major source of new residents. Almost one-fourth of all residents are foreign born, and 41 percent of residents speak a language other than English at home. Of these, more than half speak Spanish.
During the 1980s, there was a substantial increase in the educational attainment of city residents. Residents were more likely to be employed in service, professional and managerial jobs, and less likely to have manufacturing or clerical positions.
While 42,539 residents lived in poverty in 1990, this represented a small decline from 1980. Though median income in Jersey City increased substantially, it remains a distressed city. In 1990 the median family income (MFI) was $32,785.
Persons of Asian or Pacific Islander heritage are the fastest growing group in the city, making up 11 percent of the residents in 1990. African-American and Native-American populations stayed at the same proportion of the city population. Persons of Hispanic heritage made up one quarter of Jersey City's population. Overall, four out of five residents are either Hispanic and/or nonwhite.
Most units in the city -- 85 percent -- are in multifamily buildings. Seventy percent of the occupied housing is rental. The median rent in 1990 for Jersey City was $464. Many units are protected by rent control, but may not be available to families in need.
The units available for rent are generally small; less than one-third have more than two bedrooms. Owner-occupied units, on the other hand, tend to have three or more bedrooms.
Half of all units were built before 1940; one unit out of five is in substandard condition.
There is a strong demand for low-cost homeownership options. In 1994 a Division of Affordable Housing survey found the following median sales prices:
Potential homebuyers are hampered not only by unaffordable home prices, but also by lack of down payment resources and poor credit records. Even renter households at 80-95 percent of the MFI are restricted in their move to homeownership by high prices and lack of eligibility to receive housing assistance. All homeowner developments in the area are presold and projects under development have waiting lists.
Households are considered by HUD to have housing problems if the household pays more than thirty percent of its income for housing costs (defined as a cost burden), if there are physical defects or deficiencies, or if the household is overcrowded. In Jersey City, households with incomes under 50 percent of the median and considered low income were the most likely to have housing problems. In the 1990 census, more than 74 percent of low-income households showed housing problems. Over 90 percent of low-income large families reported a housing problem, usually a cost burden.
The most severely cost-burdened groups are family households with incomes below thirty percent of the median income, considered extremely low income. However, even at higher income levels, up to 80 percent of the median income, four out of five large families that rent still show a cost burden. Half of elderly households up to this income level have housing problems.
The number of homeless individuals in Jersey City is estimated at 650, based on a 1-day count in institutions and in the community. The homeless include 71 families with children (193 persons). Half are considered to have severe mental illness and substance abuse problems. Other identified groups include 11 percent fleeing domestic violence and 12 percent with AIDS or related diseases.
Another survey found that 70 percent of the homeless population is male, and that slightly more than half are African American. About one-third of homeless persons are Hispanic, and 10-15 percent are white. Only 1 out of 10 are employed.
The waiting list for Section 8 rental subsidy indicates that at least 10,000 persons in Jersey City need housing assistance. In 1992 6,041 warrants for removal following eviction procedures were issued. New Jersey's homelessness prevention program, which provides help to avoid eviction, assisted 152 Jersey City residents.
Shelters currently reach full capacity during peak seasons. There are about 350 shelter beds in Jersey City. There are also a large number of nonprofit groups that provide other services to homeless people.
The Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA) owns and manages 3,653 units of public housing, two-thirds of which are one- or two-bedroom units. Units for the elderly total 510. The wait for a unit ranges from 2 to 10 years. There are 8,769 persons on the current waiting list, and 51 vacant units.
JCHA also manages 2,175 Section 8 units. About 10,000 persons are waiting for Section 8, a 7- to 11-year wait. About 4,900 low-income households are on a State waiting list for affordable housing.
The city and JCHA are cooperating in the development of about 260 affordable units for various income levels. There are 25 privately owned assisted developments in Jersey City. They are not considered to be at risk of conversion, as many such units around the nation are.
Many local policies foster the development of affordable housing in Jersey City. For instance, the city has waived impact and linkage fees for affordable housing projects. The city has also encouraged high-density zoning. Unfortunately, the restrictive zoning practices of other municipalities has led to a concentration of low-income households in Jersey City.
There are, however, several State policies which slow the development of affordable housing. The permitting process can be delayed by regulatory agencies and also by the coordination of funding approvals.
Another impediment is the cost of environmental evaluations prior to development. The city has worked with the State to clean up contaminated sites. The review and approval process is lengthy, adding years and dollars to the cost of affordable housing.
Census figures do not reveal a racial discrepancy in housing needs. However, waiting lists compared from two sources of assisted affordable housing indicate a different picture. One list for public housing units showed a prevalence of African Americans among extremely low-income households. The other list for the Section 8 program, which provides tenants with opportunities to seek out their own private housing, showed far more white applicants at the same income level. This may indicate that African Americans have fewer options in the private market.
Through examination of relevant statistics, the city estimates that 17,314 children may be at high risk of poisoning by lead-based paint.
There were 3,394 reported AIDS cases in Jersey City as of June 1994. For every one confirmed AIDS patient, there are three with a related form of AIDS that fall short of being classified as AIDS under the definitions used by the U.S. Center for Disease Control. About two-thirds of persons with AIDS in the city have died. Two agencies that provide housing specifically for homeless persons with AIDS offer a total of 20 beds. Hyacinth Foundation, an AIDS service provider, found that 40 percent of its 271 clients were homeless, in shelters, or within 2 months of having been homeless.
Mental health programs in Hudson County, where Jersey City is located, provide services to 9,385 clients. The financial assistance they receive hardly covers shelter costs. Hudson County ranked permanent housing for the mentally ill as the highest need for that population.
No information on the housing needs of the physically disabled is available, but assisted units available for this population are always in demand. There are now 17 public housing units accessible to persons with disabilities; 161 more are planned.
There are currently 2,384 persons over 85 years old in Jersey City. It is not known how many of these are frail and require supportive housing.
Jersey City's Consolidated Plan emphasizes that a discussion of housing needs cannot ignore the economic development needs of those households with limited resources. The Jersey City Housing Authority identifies employment as the greatest need of its residents. Through the 1980's Jersey City has been seen as a leader in both job creation and unemployment. The decline of manufacturing jobs and growth of office and service sector jobs has meant continued unemployment or underemployment for residents with blue- collar backgrounds.
Although some of these new jobs are increasingly benefitting local residents, the Consolidated Plan stresses economic development at a neighborhood level. The plan supports empowerment at the micro-level by providing neighborhood "Mom and Pop" stores with technical assistance and providing direct loans to small businesses. There are plans to renovate a facility to house the Community Development Credit Union and Retail Incubator. At the neighborhood level, the plan supports the opening of a number of businesses vital to stabilization such as supermarkets, offices, and pharmacies. Attention will also be paid to facade and streetscape improvement. There is discussion about opening a Community Development Bank.
Revitalization efforts will also examine possibilities for industrial growth by researching manufacturing opportunities, providing technical assistance with business requests, and maintaining a database of available industrial and commercial opportunities. At the same time the city will help residents take advantage of opportunities in white-collar businesses by offering direct loans or loan guarantees to businesses where a majority of the employees are from low- or moderate-income households.
Expanded and improved social services are another key to helping residents achieve their economic goals. Child care, job training and counseling, health services, and transportation services are vital to allowing employees to obtain, maintain, and grow in their jobs. Infrastructure and landscaping improvements to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods prove the city's investment to the residents of those neighborhoods.
This strategy seeks to meet the housing, employment, and social services needs of those Jersey City residents who are unable to participate in the current prosperity of the city.
Five priority areas in housing, of equal weight, were chosen:
The city also focused increased attention on five priority areas in the fight against homelessness:
The city intends to use a broad range of tools to improve the housing stock, stabilize neighborhoods, and increase business activity in specific commercial areas. It has set five areas of priority in nonhousing community development:
Jersey City has adopted a First Source Agreement requiring development projects receiving city assistance to hire at least 25 percent local residents, and 25 percent women and minorities. In addition, the city will actively implement HUD's Section 3 program, which requires that efforts be made to direct contracting and other employment opportunities to residents and resident businesses of areas or developments receiving HOME or CDBG funds. Kean College and the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation will offer counseling services to assist those small businesses in their efforts to grow to meet the challenge of government contracting.
In addition, the city will fund and ensure coordination of anti-poverty and social service resources all over Jersey City. The Housing Authority will continue to support resident initiatives.
The projects chosen, particularly those for the first year's action plan, were highlighted to meet community needs and also to maximize the use of other resources through private financing, low-income housing tax credits, or other government funding.
The HOME program grant requires a match. The city utilized its linkage funds, received from market-rate developers in return for a negotiated tax abatement, to provide a cash match. The city is providing a market for HOME funds through the use of Regional Contribution Agreement funds with Allendale, foregone taxes, and the donation or reduced sale of city-owned property.
Many of the nonprofit human service providers match several sources of funds when they use CDBG funds. They use State funds, foundation grants, and owned property.
The Strategic Plan for Housing and Community Development is coordinated by the Office of Grants Administration and Compliance and the Division of Affordable Housing. The working group formed to develop the plan will continue to address issues that emerge.
In addition, working groups will develop a fair housing program, and will prepare a resource guide to social services in Jersey City that will aid in the referral process.
Projects were chosen for this year's Action Plan because they maximized the use of other resources available to the city, such as private financing or tax subsidies. These are projects that can be implemented immediately. Many are located in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, but their effects will be felt citywide.
Jersey City anticipates receiving $14,262,170 from the Federal Community Development Block Grant program. Major projects that the city anticipates funding include:$325,000 for the Jersey City Economic Development Corp.
40 grants over $100,000 for projects such as the following:
In addition, Jersey City receives funding from the HOME program which provides Federal funds to meet local housing goals. Substantial amounts have been provided to several for-profit and nonprofit developers to create affordable housing. In addition, funding has been set aside in compliance with Federal law for nonprofits that incorporate community participation, known as Community Housing Development Organizations.
Jersey City also receives funding from the Emergency Shelter Grant program, with funding going to Catholic Community Services, Let's Celebrate, Lutheran Social Ministries, and other groups.
Housing for People With AIDS, known as HOPWA, provides funding for activities of Corpus Christi Ministries, Let's Celebrate, the YMCA, and the Hudson County Housing Resource Center.
MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).