Building Innovation for Homeownership
Award Winners: New Jersey

PROJECT: McChesney Townhomes, Orange, New Jersey

SUBMITTER: Patrick Morrissy, HANDS, Orange, New Jersey

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: These five two-story attached homes for first-time buyers are an excellent example of technological innovation with some creative financing on a neighborhood scale. Developed and constructed by a local nonprofit, Housing and Neighborhood Development Services (HANDS), McChesney Townhomes are built in an urban neighborhood on land partially donated by the city, which also waived sewer tap fees. Panelized wall construction was used to accelerate the building process. A panelization factory was set up in the neighborhood, financed by the nonprofit New Jersey Community Loan Fund. This low-capital operation provided jobs for unskilled and semi-skilled workers from the neighborhood as well as panelized components for the houses. Where possible, products produced by local companies and businesses were used in the units. A mortgage program of 5% down and low interest rates with no points or PMI was made available. Access to federal HOME funds through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs brought the selling price of the three-bedroom townhomes to $61,000, or 67% of the median price in the neighborhood.

PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: Housing and Neighborhood Development Services, Inc., Orange, NJ, Patrick Morrissy, Executive Director (developer and general contractor); Anne Li, Director of Staff, New Jersey Community Loan Fund; Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Director of Staff, New Jersey Citizen Action Counseling Service; Carmine D�Alessio, Loan Officer, First Fidelity Urban Investment Corp.; Harold Simon, National Housing Institute; Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, St. Matthews A.M.E., Orange, NJ; Mark Murphy, Fund for New Jersey; Peggy Huchet, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs; The Late Fred Travisano, Mostoller Travisano Architects, Princeton, NJ; The Late Patricia Juliano, Councilwoman, City of Orange, NJ


PROJECT: Horizon Village, Newark, New Jersey

SUBMITTER: Max Benjamin, JP Affordable Housing, Jersey City, New Jersey

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Horizon Village is a development on an inner city lot in Newark that has seen little new housing construction since the riots of a generation ago. Construction has just been completed on 27 duplexes, offered at $80,000, or approximately .32 of new housing construction in Northern New Jersey. The duplexes are modular construction with added energy-saving features such as double-paned windows, caulked electrical receptacles to cut air infiltration, and boosted insulation. Exterior materials are durable and low- maintenance. The units are sited to encourage the concept of �defensible space�: close to the street, fences, high visibility of the street from the units, no outside access to unit crawlspaces. The choice of duplexes for Horizon Village contributes to the notion of housing affordability. Homebuyers become landlords, learn about property management, and have an second-income source. Units must be rented to low-income families under certain income levels for a period a 15 years. There are also constraints on profit from resale of the units and the income level of the buyers. Construction loans were provided from state, nonprofit, and commercial sources. Buyers could prequalify over the phone and were counseled through the mortgage process. New Jersey�s Urban Homeownership Recovery Program provided a grant for the development, while HUD provided a grant from the HOME program for a second mortgage. Horizon Village was developed by a nonprofit group.

PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: JP Affordable Housing, Inc. (project developer); Community Urban Renewal Enterprise (project sponsor); State of New Jersey (project funding); HUD (project funding, HOME); City of Newark; Summit Bank (construction and end loan financing); Inner City Construction, Inc. (general contractor).


Content Archived: January 20, 2009