Baraka commits $1M to COVID-19 relief for homeowners, home buyers

NEWARK, NJ — As part of his ongoing COVID-19 financial stimulus package, Mayor Ras Baraka announced April 1 that Newark will inject $1 million into its “Live Newark” program, designed to give city residents access to home ownership.

The new program will provide $5,000 down payment forgivable loans to first-time home buyers and forgivable loans up to $15,000 for homeowners undertaking external repairs. There will also be $5,000 down payment forgivable loans to city employees. The forgivable loan terms all require the recipient to live in the house for at least five years.

“Homeownership stabilizes neighborhoods,” Baraka said. “It’s a key component of our overall strategic vision for the city, in terms of safety, education and economic growth. When people own their homes, they have a greater investment in the well-being of the entire city. We’ve made significant advances in this area and we can’t let this health crisis set us back.”

The $1 million infusion of funds will make existing programs available to even more residents, the mayor said.

“These are tough times, we know, but these incentives might make it easier for some Newark residents to become homeowners and existing homeowners to make improvements,” Baraka said. “It’s just another way for us to stay on course while we battle this virus.” 

Applications for this Live Newark program can be found at

The funds will come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of its Home Investment Partnership Program, designed to help states and cities provide decent and affordable housing for urban Americans.

“Owning a home is the cornerstone of the American Dream, providing families with emotional and financial stability as it builds wealth,” said Allison Ladd, deputy mayor and director of the Newark Department of Economic and Housing Development. “Homeownership creates strong, stable communities with increased volunteerism, improved health and less crime. That’s why it is so important to make Live Newark available to more residents.”