New Jersey Gov. Phil MurphyNew Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

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TRENTON, NJ—New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Wednesdaythat he will restore millions of dollars into the state'sAffordable Housing Trust Fund.

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The Murphy Administration reported that it will spend $60million on affordable housing initiatives across the state in itsFiscal Year 2020 budget. The funding had been diverted in previousyears.

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"Ensuring that every New Jerseyan has a safe, affordable placeto call home is a core principle of my Administration's vision fora stronger and fairer New Jersey," Gov. Murphy said. "With theelimination of diversions from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund inthe FY2020 budget, we ended nearly a decade of disinvestment thatpunished New Jersey residents struggling to make ends meet. Theallocation plan unveiled today, which utilizes a community-centeredapproach, is a significant step in the right direction to addressour state's affordable housing crisis."

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DCA will allocate $60 million in AHTF funding to smaller rentaland homeownership housing projects sized at 25 or fewer units thatoften have difficulty obtaining financing.

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The AHTF dollars will be allocated through three funds—theMunicipal Settlement Fund, the Neighborhood Partnership Fund andthe Innovation Fund—all focused on creating housing for householdsearning less than 80% of Area Median Income, with preferences forproviding units with deeper affordability.

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The Department of Community Affairs will prioritize projectsthat include municipal leverage; participation in otherstate-funded community development initiatives; partnerships withprivate sector investors; sustainability/resilience; walkability;mixed-use; accessibility; and projects addressing gentrification,state officials noted. The allocation plan reflects what the MurphyAdministration terms are several core principles, includingadvancing equity in addressing housing needs, encouraging leverageof other public and private resources, and allowing a flexiblestructure for funds to be used to get projects done.

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The maximum subsidy for a given project financed through theMunicipal Settlement and Neighborhood Partnership Funds is $6million, while the maximum amount provided per project through theInnovation Fund will be $2 million. All housing units receivingAHTF financing must be deed-restricted for a minimum of 20years.

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Grant guidelines are available on DCA's website. DCA will host awebinar on March 2, 2020, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, launching theunified AHTF application, which will be available on SAGE, DCA'sgrant management system.

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John Jordan

John Jordan is a veteran journalist with 36 years of print and digital media experience.