Partnership to help low-income families achieve homeownership in Newark

NEWARK, NJ — The city of Newark, Newark Housing Authority and Invest Newark — Newark’s Economic Development Corporation — have launched a first-of-its-kind program to provide eligible Section 8 recipients with the opportunity to use their vouchers to purchase their first home. It is a pilot program of the Land Bank created by Mayor Ras Baraka and the municipal council and administered by Invest Newark. The “Section 8 Homeownership Conversion Program,” is a partnership of public and private sector stakeholders to increase homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families. The program focuses on investing in existing neighborhoods, utilizing local minority and/or women-owned business enterprises contractors and building the wealth of Newark residents.

“Increasing homeownership for Newark residents, regardless of income level, is one of the important reasons why we created the Land Bank,” Baraka said. Through this partnership with Invest Newark and the Newark Housing Authority, numerous residents will enjoy the independence and empowerment of achieving the American dream of home ownership. At the same time, it achieves other goals of the Land Bank: transforming blighted properties, restoring our city’s economic strength and reviving neighborhoods.”

As part of the pilot program, Invest Newark acquired three blighted properties from the city of Newark that will be rehabilitated by three local developers. The properties will then be sold to qualified recipients through a lottery process for $190,000 with a 20-year, 4-percent interest mortgage. The Section 8 Homeownership Voucher will then be used to subsidize the participant’s mortgage.

In the coming weeks, the Newark Housing Authority will begin opening the lottery process to prequalified residents, with notices posted online and in local publications. Those selected to participate will also undergo a first-time–homeowners program to increase their knowledge and prepare them for the remainder of the process. The program’s goal is to create 150 new single-family homes in all 20 of Newark’s neighborhoods. 

“Invest Newark is committed to equitable economic growth,” Invest Newark President and CEO Bernel Hall said. “In our efforts to accomplish this, we are developing unique homeownership opportunities for low-income residents. Additionally, we are partnering with locally-based MWBE developers to create dozens of jobs, invest in a city where eligible residents have spent their entire lives, produce more vibrant neighborhoods through rehabilitation, and help Newark grow its tax base without severe gentrification.” 

“The Newark Housing Authority continues to identify ways to improve the quality of life of residents while providing the resources needed to be successful,” Executive Director Victor Cirilo said. “I applaud this new partnership as it allows us to identify Section 8 participants who are ready to undertake the dream of homeownership while building equity and wealth.”

“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. “This exciting and innovative Land Bank project will help to create strong, stable and safer communities.”