“The best of the best” were brought together on November 3 for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the South Orange Commons 100% affordable housing development at 41-45 Third Street in South Orange.
The 26-unit development — which will provide 16 units for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and 10 units for families — is the combined effort of JESPY House, the Township of South Orange Village, Bergen County’s United Way/Madeline Housing Partners, LLC, and Penwal Affordable Housing Corporation. The project also benefits from $5 million in affordable housing tax credits from the state of New Jersey.
Three women were lauded for their central work in making the project happen: JESPY Executive Director Audrey Winkler, JESPY Board President Dr. Ahadi Bugg-Levine, and New Jersey Assemblywoman Mila Jasey — with Mary Theroux speaking on her behalf.
“This is the very first 100% affordable housing development in the history of South Orange,” proclaimed South Orange Village President Sheena Collum during her remarks.
Collum also wanted to thank the community of South Orange as a whole.
“One thing that is never lost upon me is the fact that in other communities, they don’t want to build affordable housing. They actually see it as a threat to the values of their single-family homes and the characters of their town. Some of those communities even don’t like to see developments where there are adults with developmental disabilities.”
“Nothing makes me more proud being the Village President — and I know that [Trustee] Summer Jones would agree — is that in South Orange we want all types of people. Housing for all types of people. Being supportive for those people who need additional resources and additional services.”
“So for the JESPY House clients here, you are our family,” said Collum. “This is your community.”
From JESPY House in South Orange, NJ:
GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY TO CELEBRATE AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECT ‘SOUTH ORANGE COMMONS’ – NOVEMBER 3, 2022
South Orange, NJ – Community members are invited to the groundbreaking ceremony for South Orange Commons located at 41-45 West Third Street. The development, which will provide affordable housing for low-income families and adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, is South Orange’s first 100-percent affordable housing project.
The November 3rd event will take place in the community greenspace across the street from the 41-45 West Third Street building site. Community members are invited to join town officials, JESPY clients and staff, and project partners for music and light refreshments from 4:30 – 6:30 PM.
The project was made possible by a partnership between JESPY House, the Township of South Orange Village, Bergen County’s United Way/Madeline Housing Partners, LLC, and Penwal Affordable Housing Corporation. In total, South Orange Commons will contain 26 affordable apartment units. Sixteen units will be for adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and 10 units will be designated for families with a mixture of one, two, and three-bedroom units. Other amenities include a laundry room on each floor, community room, and roof terrace.
“We are thrilled to celebrate this exciting project with such an outstanding array of partners,” said Sheena Collum, South Orange Village President. “Not only are we adhering to the Village’s Housing Element and Fair Share Plan, but we are highlighting the great work of so many community members who have advocated for more affordable housing in town.”
Dr. Ahadi Bugg-Levine, President of the JESPY House Board of Trustees stated: “We are excited to gather with JESPY clients, staff, and the entire South Orange community to break ground at South Orange Commons. This project is years in the making and will allow many of our clients to stay in the town that they love and call home while also allowing new adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to join our community. The needs of people with disabilities are often overlooked when it comes to a community’s housing options. We are proud of the continued advocacy of our clients who contributed to make this day happen.”
Audrey Winkler, Executive Director of JESPY House, added, “JESPY clients contribute greatly to our community in numerous ways. JESPY is fortunate to be a partner in this long-awaited project that will allow adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to live in an inclusive community. We are excited to make this project a reality.”
More About South Orange Commons
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) awarded over $5 million in tax credits to fund the development of the South Orange Commons affordable housing project, located at 41-45 West Third Street in downtown South Orange. The project, a partnership between JESPY House, the Township of South Orange Village, Bergen County’s United Way/Madeline Housing Partners, LLC, and Penwal Affordable Housing Corporation will provide affordable housing for low-income families and adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Bergen County’s United Way/Madeline Housing Partners, LLC and Penwal Affordable Housing Corporation will construct the building. Together, these organizations have over 45 years of experience in non-profit affordable housing development. They recently completed an 85-unit project for seniors in Fair Lawn. Bergen County’s United Way/Madeline Housing Partners, LLC will also identify and support the residents in the family units.
The projected cost for South Orange Commons is estimated to be $9.2 million dollars. The Village of South Orange has contributed $2.5 million to provide the land and parking for the project. NJHMFA has committed to providing $547,988 in tax credits annually for 10 years. The projected construction timeframe is 12-18 months. JESPY House and Bergen County’s United Way/Madeline Housing Partners, LLC will comply with all requirements to publicize the rental application process for South Orange Commons.
About JESPY House
JESPY House helps 260 adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to live independently in South Orange, New Jersey. JESPY provides services to clients ranging in age from 18 through their senior years. These services include residential options, day programming, employment training and placement, clinical and behavioral health, athletics and fitness, recreation and the arts, and daily living skills.