TRENTON, NJ–The State of New Jersey is setting aside a total of $75 million for the development of housing for low- and moderate-income families, according to Jane M. Kenny, commissioner of the NJ Department of Community Affairs. The money will be doled out via several housing programs administered by the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.

Simply put, in this era and state of high housing costs, the aim is to “help families reach the goal of home ownership,” according to Kenny. Also part of the agenda is to provide a spark for Gov. Christie Whitman’s administration’s efforts to revitalize the state’s long-downtrodden urban centers. The strong economy has made things easier, but other than in Jersey City and along the Hudson River waterfront, urban housing has been the weak link.

Most of the money will go directly to potential homeowners in the form of low-interest mortgages. Both the Dream Come True Statewide Mortgage Program and the Too Good, But It’s True Mortgage Program will fund mortgages with a fixed 5% interest rate. The latter program is specifically aimed at buyers in designated urban neighborhoods in Asbury Park, Camden, Elizabeth, Dover, Irvington, Jersey City, Long Branch, Neptune, Newark, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Plainfield, Pleasantville, Trenton and Vineland.

Money has also been set aside for the next phase of the Urban Home Ownership Recovery Program, according to Kenny. She adds that “$5 million in subsidy funds will be made available immediately. Since the funding was first made in 1996, this program has financed more than 2,200 homes in 21 urban areas. This program works to stabilize urban neighborhoods by bringing homeownership opportunities back in the cities.”

“HMFA works with private lenders to finance the construction of housing in urban areas in need of new housing stock,” adds the agency’s executive director, Deborah De Santis. “All of these programs are available through our participating lenders.” HMFA was scheduled to begin accepting applications for funding today.

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