Newark Mayor Ras Baraka set a goal of building or preserving 6,000 units of affordable housing over the next five years. Funding for the plan will come from the American Recovery Plan.
Baraka made the announcement this week in front of 550-552 South 18th Street, a six family affordable building built by Eugenia Hamlett, an MWBE developer. The mayor was joined by Allison Ladd, deputy mayor and director of Economic and Housing Development; David Troutt, director of the Rutgers Center on Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity; Victor Cirilo, executive director, Newark Housing Authority; and Elizabeth Fuller, a tenant of 550-552 South 18th Street.
“An equitable city is built on the foundation of affordability,” said Baraka. “Our new housing goals and the actions outlined to achieve them will help us ensure all Newark residents have access to safe, decent, and affordable housing and that our city continues to be a vibrant gateway to opportunity for all, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, or immigration status.”
Between 2015 and 2020, the city created or preserved 3,514 homes. The five-year goals continue the city’s focus on production, preservation and protection.
The goals were developed through a Housing Working Group convened by Baraka with more than 30 representatives from community-based organizations, non-profits, developers, housing advocates, private companies, municipal departments, the Newark Housing Authority and Invest Newark.
The Working Group, led by the Office of Affordable and Sustainable Housing with support from Bloomberg Associates, worked over the past eight months to review the city’s past housing efforts, understand current programs, and create quantitative housing affordability targets to meet the vision of Newark Forward.
“I want to thank the Housing Working Group for creating bold but achievable goals. Their work sets a clear direction for Newark and will shape our collective housing efforts as we recover from the pandemic and reinvest in our communities,” said Ladd. “The housing goals provide a roadmap to ensure we maximize funding from the American Rescue Plan, Treasury Emergency Rental Funds and American Jobs Act, as well as state and local sources, to meet the needs of Newark’s most vulnerable residents.”
Baraka launched several initiatives that will help achieve the affordable housing goal, including a $20 million investment to support the creation of units affordable to Newark families earning $32,000 or less and more than $14 million in Emergency Rental Assistance to help Newarkers impacted by COVID-19 pay their rent and utilities.