The New Jersey “40 Acres and a Mule” Fund (NJ FAM) announced its first deal in Newark, leveraging funding from key investors including Bank of America, AT&T, Panasonic, RWJ Barnabas Health and Shaquille O’Neal.
The project will include a partnership with United Community Corporation to begin construction on 10 city-owned parcels, each of them systematically selected to transform the neighborhood and provide high quality homeownership on the block.
It involves the construction of nine two-family homes and the rehabilitation of one two-family home, of which four homes will be set aside for residents that have incomes below 80% AMI. The project is in partnership with the New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC), the state of New Jersey’s largest Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
“Newark had a critical shortage of mixed income housing well before the pandemic,” said Bernel Hall, managing director, NJ FAM Fund. “We’re thrilled to partner with exceptional brands that want to give back to the community and finance what will be incredible options for families at all income levels outside of Newark’s central business district.”
“With the increasing prices of building materials within America, it is really hard for agencies interested in creating these affordable housing units to finance them,” said Craig Mainor, executive director, United Community Corporation. “This additional funding bolsters the fact that affordable housing is an increasingly scarce opportunity and shows the importance of both public and private money going towards solving this housing crisis.”
“This project is going to help families reach their ‘American Dream,’ and also show students at Harriet Tubman Elementary School (located across the street from the properties) that things can change for the better by us beautifying their neighborhood.”
The NJ Fam Fund is a first of its kind private investment vehicle focused on making equity and debt investments in Black and Latinx businesses located or doing business within the State of New Jersey, while transforming real estate projects within New Jersey’s urban communities. The NJ Fam Fund intends to raise $100 million in investable capital to make opportunistic investments in value-added small businesses and real estate projects that will scale and reduce the wealth, health and social disparities that currently exist.
“The City of Newark is excited to continue working with the NJ FAM Fund as we and other municipalities navigate the challenges caused by the racial wealth gap and inequities exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “The NJ Fam Fund will help us diminish this gap by empowering Newark-based builders to create affordable, high-quality housing for residents while continuing to drive growth for our city.”
“New Jersey Community Capital is excited to participate in a project that accelerates access to quality affordable homes for Newark residents,” said Jacki Robinson, interim president and chief financial officer of NJCC. “Together, we are implementing effective, collaborative models that grow, strengthen and preserve homeownership opportunities during a time of transition and change for many individuals and families.”
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