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City Council Approves “Bridge Loan” For Permanent Housing For Homeless in New Brunswick

$2.7 Million Would Create 12-Unit Supportive-Needs Housing Project on Zebra Way
Zebra Way Development
An artist's rendering of a 12-unit supportive needs housing project approved for Zebra Way. Z+ Architect LLC

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On July 6, the New Brunswick City Council voted 4-0 to authorize a commitment of $1.49 million dollars in Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) funds to a new housing project for the homeless near the Schwarz-Robeson public housing complex.

The City of New Brunswick previously supported the Zebra Way housing project by pledging $450,000 in federal "HOME" funds prior to the City Council meeting.

The 12-unit project, located on land previously owned by the New Brunswick Housing Authority (NBHA) along the city's newest street, is estimated to cost a total of $2.7 million dollars to construct.

This estimate includes both US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding, and non-HUD funds, according to an Environmental Assessment Report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“This will provide more affordable housing and help some homeless individuals hopefully get their lives back together and not only get housing but the services they need to do that,” said Glenn Patterson, the city's longtime Planning Director.

The project is slated for an existing piece of undeveloped land adjacent to the Schwartz Homes, approximately a quarter-mile from Van Dyke Avenue.

The development of the project will be co-managed by Bergen County United Way/Madeline Partnership (BCUW/Madeline) and Coming Home of Middlesex County, non-profit organizations that advocate for the development of housing projects for homeless populations throughout New Jersey.

These supportive-housing units will be comprised of both one-bedroom (725 square-foot) and two-bedroom (1,100 square-foot) units, where some units will serve the “hardship” homeless population in New Brunswick.

Eileen O’Donnell, executive director of Coming Home of Middlesex County, characterized a hardship homeless individual as, “homeless by the virtue of having fallen on economic hard times,” as opposed to chronically homeless individuals.

Amenities on site for the residents will also include a bike rack, common laundry area, an outdoor patio area and security cameras throughout the building.

In addition, the Zebra Way project will offer its residents social services provided by the Triple C organization.

Triple C has provided social services supporting over 250 individuals and families living supportive-style housing units, according to its executive director, Leslie Stivale.

According to a recent report by the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ, non-profit developers like Triple C have contributed $460 million towards the state’s economy, as we reported on July 4.