The Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation (GSECDC) on Tuesday purchased a bank-owned foreclosed home on Jewett Avenue for $250,000. The nonprofit will rehab the home and then sell it to a middle-income first-time home buyer, as part of the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which offers grant money to stabilize neighborhoods that have been ravished by foreclosures and subsequent abandonment.
This is the first home GSECDC has closed on as part of the program; it plans to close on a second home — on Clerk Street — within the next two weeks. Funded by a $922,000 federal stimulus grant through the city’s Division of Community Development, GSECDC will ultimately purchase 10 homes. (The group received an additional $1 million credit line from New Jersey Community Capital to help expedite the developments.)
“To make this project work, it took a significant amount leadership from our professional housing staff to figure out this new program in a short time, and deal with continued changes in the real estate market over the past year,” GSECDC executive director Carol Mori says. “We have also been able to effectively implement this program with responsive government partners in the Division of Community Development and the private sector partners that provided a significant amount of financing in difficult credit climate.”
The homes are available to households earning between 65 and 120 percent of the area median income. Buyers who fall under the 80 percent threshold are eligible for additional down payment and closing assistance through the city’s Golden Neighborhoods program. The first two homes will sell for $245,000.
GSECDC real estate director John Restrepo says these homes will be available to the large percentage of Jersey City households who are too well-off to qualify for most federal housing assistance, but not doing well enough to purchase a home at market rates.
“This program allows us to serve middle income families that are ‘stuck in the middle,’ since they don’t qualify for traditional affordable housing programs because they are over income, and at the same time cannot afford the prices in the marketplace,” he says.