Neighborhood Transformation

December 21, 2020 11:35 am

Donor Highlight | Neighborhood Transformation | December 2020

“This is a state tax credit program that really works,” Interfaith Neighbors Executive Director Paul McEvily has said repeatedly.

His comment refers to New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) program, a fundamental part of IFN’s development projects, and support of community initiatives in Asbury Park’s West Side neighborhood.

Established in 2006, the NRTC program encourages investment in distressed neighborhoods via a 100 percent tax credit for New Jersey corporations with a state tax liability. Over the past 12 years, IFN has received over $8 million in tax credit investments to fund construction  and programming focused on the West Side neighborhood of Asbury Park. IFN has allocated over $1 million from this program to over 20 community initiatives led by other area non-profits. Investors in IFN’s NRTC projects include New Jersey Natural Gas, NJ American Water, M&T Bank, among others.

“The reason this program is a success is the leveraging  opportunities it has created to attract additional capital to the Asbury Park community,” McEvily said.

They include the $15 million in infrastructure improvements the City of Asbury Park completed in the Springwood Avenue corridor during IFN’s construction of the Springwood Center and the mortgage financing afforded to local homebuyers.

Construction of IFN’s Kula Urban Farm and the adjacent Springwood Center were supported by the NRTC program.

NRTC investments have supported our Kula Café and Kula Urban Farm social enterprises, as well as our SOAR workforce development program. Interfaith Neighbors was also able to support Community Affairs and Resource Center’s (CARC) workforce program, the local Big Brother and Big Sister mentoring initiative, the Monmouth County Boys & Girls Club Junior Entrepreneur Program, Second Baptist Church’s Fine Art & Technology youth summer camp, the Women’s Hospitality Network’s support for females experiencing homelessness, and the popular Asbury Park Music Foundation’s Music Mondays in the Park free concert series.

IFN’s latest project to receive NRTC investments is the Parkview AP development. As a state-certified home developer, IFN has constructed over 55 affordable homes in the West Side neighborhood.

Parkview AP, a 10-lot project along Springwood Avenue, stands out among other affordable housing projects in Asbury Park because of its focus on homeownership and its income property component, said Patrick Durkin, IFN’s Director of Real Estate Development.

Architectural rendering of the completed Parkview AP homes.

“Currently only 25 percent of people own their homes in Asbury Park,” said Durkin, who maintains that the best way to transform a distressed community is by increasing the opportunity for its residents to become homeowners.

Each Parkview AP lot features a three bedroom, two and one-half bath single family home fronting Springwood Avenue and a one-bedroom apartment above the adjacent garage.  The owner-occupied development affords one the ability to live in one home while renting out the other. And while this is a mixed-income housing project, primarily targeting low to moderate-income families and individuals, it also addresses a group often overlooked – middle market homebuyers unable to afford the rising market rate home prices in Asbury Park. The first home is projected to be finished in February with the next two following closely behind.

In October, the NJ Department of Community Affairs NRTC program announced a new funding program for small businesses located in NRTC neighborhoods. As many small businesses are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis restrictions, the agency has made funding availalble to assist small businesses with rent, utilities, and COVID-related expenses.  IFN, working with the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce applied for and received $133,000 in funding for West Side neighborhood affected businesses. These funds are meant to keep them on their feet until it is safe to ease restrictions again, McEvily said.

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