As part of a $1 million grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to New Jersey Community Capital, Newark’s Economic and Housing Development department is working with the foundation and NJCC to create jobs, opportunities and housing for Newark residents.

Under the direction of Deputy Mayor Baye Adofo-Wilson, EHD is reducing the city’s abandoned and foreclosed property logs by renovating homes and housing residents. The Williams family is the first beneficiary of this private-public partnership, moving from a shelter on South Orange Avenue to their own rental home on Seymour Avenue as part of the city’s Model Neighborhood Initiative to rebuild Newark’s communities.

Shkira and Anthony Williams, along with their four children, ages 8 to 18, said they were excited be living in their own home.

“I was at a very low place when I heard about the city’s Model Neighborhood housing fair,” Shkira Williams said. “With all that we had been through, I didn’t think that anyone would help us, but they did. Landlords usually shy away from families that come from shelters, making it hard to find a place to live. So, it was a miracle to get a home that we could rent right here in our own neighborhood. I am really ecstatic about it, and I just want to thank Mayor Baraka, NJ Community and all of the people who helped get us off the streets.”

The partnership between the city and JPMorgan Chase is in its infancy, as there are another half-dozen residential properties in the pipeline for future renovation as part of Baraka’s award-winning Model Neighborhood Initiative. Baraka’s MNI economic development strategy for the southern and western parts of the city was launched late last year. Beautification projects, including murals along Clinton Avenue and city park improvements, are also part of the MNI project.