Mayor Cory Booker and Jon Bon Jovi Unveil Affordable Housing Initiative

September 3rd, 2008


Public-private partnership provides 51 homes; HELP USA's Newark Genesis Project will provide permanent housing and post-acute care for special needs populations

Mayor Cory A. Booker was joined by Jon Bon Jovi, Governor Jon Corzine, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, and other local leaders at a press conference today in front of a vacant and undeveloped corner at Oriental Street and Mt. Pleasant Avenue in the city's North Ward, to announce the HELP Newark Initiative. This public-private partnership with Mr. Bon Jovi's Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, and developer HELP USA will result in Newark Genesis Apartments, 51 new units of affordable housing with support services for low-income and special-needs persons, which will include environmentally friendly 'green' features such as a geothermal heating system and other components of New Jersey's Green Future program. There will be 2,500 square-foot community center as well.

“These new homes will provide much needed stability and comfort to Newark families. High quality, affordable housing, connected to community activities, social services, employment training and opportunities, this is the model for successfully redeveloping our neighborhoods. The public-private partnership with HELP USA, the Philadelphia Soul Foundation, the State and the City is just the most recent of a number of exciting new projects that we will be supporting to create new, quality, affordable housing,” said Mayor Booker. Under Mayor Booker's leadership, the City has doubled the production of affordable housing and looks to continue this trend.

“Newark's time is now,” said Jon Bon Jovi, “As the Mayor enhances the city's offerings to attract visitors, businesses and new residents continue, we are also working together to meet the needs of current residents who may not be able to afford market rate rents. Many of the residents who will live in these homes will have some type of special need, be it rehabilitation, medical care, child care, or vocational training, and we want to see to it that those needs are affordably and realistically met.”

Over the past three years, Mr Bon Jovi & The Philadelphia Soul foundation, over the past three years have been instrumental in building 140 homes now in various stages of completion.

“Through this spirit of collaboration, we are ensuring the creation of good, affordable homes for the people of Newark,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “The Genesis Apartments project symbolizes the compassion we as a society must summon for our most vulnerable people. We need affordable housing in New Jersey now more than ever, and I am confident that at the state level, we will do all we can to facilitate the fulfillment of this basic right.”

“HELP USA is proud to be a part of this dynamic public private partnership. Under the innovative leadership of Mayor Cory Booker, Governor John Corzine, visionary and philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi and the Philadelphia Soul, HELP USA will be able to bring its years of experience in developing service enriched permanent housing to working families and people living with HIV/AIDS in Newark's North Ward,” said Maria Cuomo Cole, Chairman HELP USA.

The families residing at HELP's Newark Genesis Apartments will receive a continuum of services to promote family stabilization, case management, and employment services provided both by HELP staff and local providers. In addition, HELP's community center will offer programs designed to meet the needs of both the Newark Genesis Apartments tenants and the residents of the North Ward. HELP will work with the City of Newark, community leaders, such as Councilman Anibal Ramos, and local service providers from the North Ward to tailor the specific services provided at the community center.

“This is an integral part of a comprehensive plan to redevelop our neighborhoods with market rate and affordable housing. The distinctive aspect of HELP USA is their national model of success by building in support services to their affordable housing projects. We are excited that HELP USA is participating in the redevelopment of the North Ward. We are hopeful that we can connect HELP's Newark Genesis Apartments to our local Raphael Hernandez Elementary School, our local police precinct, and other resident services available in the North Ward,” said Councilman Ramos.

Twenty-five percent of the apartments will be reserved for tenants living with AIDS, making HELP's Newark Genesis Apartments the first residential facility in New Jersey to provide permanent housing that is fully integrated with the services of a post-acute care AIDS facility. In this case, the future tenants will be referred by Broadway House for Continuing Care, a post-acute care AIDS facility just a few blocks away in the North Ward. Broadway House staff will provide medical case-management and counseling on-site at Newark Genesis Apartments in order to meet the clients' ongoing medical needs. The proximity and seamless service integration between HELP and Broadway House will ensure continuity of care and facilitate the clients' successful return to independent living in their own communities. Broadway House is affiliated with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).