The city council put off awarding a $505,000 grant to the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) after it provided an inadequate response to the council’s request to partner with another local nonprofit in the project to build low-income housing in the Totowa neighborhood.
Councilman William McKoy blocked the funds from being awarded to the organization in late June. He persuaded his colleagues to amend the measure awarding federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds to hold off the grant for NJCDC on Jun. 26, 2018.
“It’s a rental property that will pay rent in perpetuity,” said McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman. “We cannot be that generous without seeing some sort of community sharing or return that’s going to build the community.”
McKoy had suggested the nonprofit work with one of the city’s smaller organizations like the Grandparent Relatives Care Resource Center to help them build capacity. He suggested a partnership or a income sharing agreement between the two organizations. He said he received an “insulting” memorandum that ignored his suggestion.
“I’ve always been open to the idea of helping other groups build their affordable housing capacity,” said Bob Guarasci, president of the New Jersey Community Development Corporation, on Jun. 27, 2018. “I think Paterson would be better if we had other organizations that had the capacity to build affordable housing. I’m willing to really help in whatever way we can.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” said McKoy of Guarasci’s comments. He said the funds were set aside pending a conversation with the nonprofit. Once the nonprofit agrees to work with one of the smaller organizations it is likely to receive the grant funds for the project.
The organization is seeking to build a three-story building that will have four rental units – 2 one-bedroom and 2 two-bedroom apartments — at 157 Wayne Avenue.
All four units will be reserved for low-income households for 20 years, according to municipal records. One-bedroom units will be rented for $1,050 per month and two-bedroom for $1,250, according to city records.
Total cost for the project is $750,000.
The council approved funding for other housing projects:
- $125,000 awarded to the Paterson Habitat for Humanity. The nonprofit is building 3 single-family homes at 59 Rosa Parks Boulevard, 61 Rosa Parks Boulevard, and 209-211 Governor Street. Total project cost is $820,000.
- $679,868 awarded to Paterson Habitat for Humanity for its projects at 142, 144, 185, 187 Hamilton Street and 204 Summer Street. Total cost for these projects stand at $1.65 million.
- $914,452 awarded to the Paterson Housing Authority for a veteran’s housing project. Details of the project were not available.