LAKEWOOD, NJ—Community InvestmentStrategies, Inc., an award-winning affordable housingdeveloper, is one step closer to assisting Lakewood in theredevelopment of its former public housing project known asJFK Apartments, an aging apartment complex, withthe awarding of $4 million in state tax credits.

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CIS has received approval from the NewJersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) for the taxcredits through the state's Economic Redevelopment and Growthprogram (ERG). The credits will enable CIS torevitalize the JFK Apartments, a 63-unitpublic-housing development at Cedarbridge Avenue and SouthClover Street.

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The $16.3 million project is getting help from a pilot programof the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Thepilot – called the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program –allows new forms of financial support for struggling public housingprojects.

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The EDA award is especially noteworthy because it's the firsttime ERG tax credits will be used with the RAD program for publichousing, says Christiana Foglio, founder and CEOof Lawrenceville-based CIS.

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“Our experience in the affordable-housing industry enabled us tothink outside the box and come up with this unique solution to makethe project possible,” says Foglio. “This sorelyneeded renovation would not be feasible without the ERG taxcredits.”

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Mary Jo Grauso, executive director of theLakewood Housing Authority, praisedCIS for obtaining the ERG tax credits and otherfinancing assistance. “HUD tells housing authorities we must beentrepreneurs and innovators, because federal funding isn't therelike it used to be,” says Grauso. “CIS has theexperience and the initiative to get other financing. Without that,we couldn't make this project work.”

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CIS was expecting to receive approval for bondfinancing and Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the New JerseyHousing and Mortgage Finance Agency at its November 21 boardmeeting.

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The Lakewood Housing Authority, which owns thecomplex, selected CIS to partner on therehabilitation of JFK, to be renamedChambers Crescent. Construction is expected tobegin in the spring, with completion slated for late 2015. Therenovation is projected to create about 43 temporary constructionjobs and three full-time, permanent positions at the complex.

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The project is especially essential due to the loss ofaffordable housing in Ocean County after Hurricane Sandy, saysFoglio.

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“We'll be doing a complete revitalization of the community,” shesays. Ten existing buildings will be fully rehabilitated; the othertwo will be torn down and replaced with new, modern buildings,according to Jeffrey Oakman,CIS's director of project development.

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“CIS has been very responsive and easy to work with. They careabout what happens to the tenants,” says LHA'sGrauso. “This will afford people the opportunityto live like they should, in decent, sanitary housing.”

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Steve Lubetkin

Steve Lubetkin is the New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for GlobeSt.com. He is currently filling in covering Chicago and Midwest markets until a new permanent editor is named. He previously filled in covering Atlanta. Steve’s journalism background includes print and broadcast reporting for NJ news organizations. His audio and video work for GlobeSt.com has been honored by the Garden State Journalists Association, and he has also been recognized for video by the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has produced audio podcasts on CRE topics for the NAR Commercial Division and the CCIM Institute. Steve has also served (from August 2017 to March 2018) as national broadcast news correspondent for CEOReport.com, a news website focused on practical advice for senior executives in small- and medium-sized companies. Steve also reports on-camera and covers conferences for NJSpotlight.com, a public policy news coverage website focused on New Jersey government and industry; and for clients of StateBroadcastNews.com, a division of The Lubetkin Media Companies LLC. Steve has been the computer columnist for the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey, since 1996. Steve is co-author, with Toronto-based podcasting pioneer Donna Papacosta, of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional. You can email Steve at [email protected].