It was announced last week that the three families involved in Invest Newark’s Section 8 Homeownership Conversion Program had officially closed on their first homes, which are move-in ready.
Invest Newark held a lottery to choose the first three recipients, who were pre-qualified through the Newark Housing Authority (NHA). Section 8 Homeownership allows qualified Section 8 recipients to use their rental vouchers and down payment assistance to purchase single-family homes.
The program is a result of a partnership between public and private sector stakeholders and part of Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s plan to increase homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families.
“Today is a great day for three Newark families as they close on their new homes and a greater one for our entire City as we transform the concept of Section 8 housing from tenancy to home ownership,” Mayor Baraka said. “We are continuing to increase home ownership for residents, regardless of income level, and empowering them by offering a true chance to achieve the American dream of owning their own home.”
The program utilizes properties transferred to the Newark Land Bank from the City of Newark’s Department of Economic and Housing Development. It aims to assist first-time homebuyers and create access to capital and more equitable opportunities for MWBE contractors across Newark.
The NHA is the operator and administrator of the Section 8 Program for the City of Newark. It selects and coaches families in preparation for homeownership opportunities. NHA helps to qualify the tenants for mortgages and works with them through the home buying process. The NHA currently has more than 500 potential candidates who could be coached through the process in the future.
The Urban League of Essex County (ULEC) will provide the new homeowners with mandatory HUD Certified Homeownership Counseling. The new homeowners will be assigned HUD Certified Coaches to work with them after their purchase. Local Initiatives Support Corp (LISC) is supporting ULEC for this counseling, which will cover all homeownership trials and issues, along with solutions and best practices.
Financial commitments for expansion of the program have been made by Neighborhood Assistance Corporation Of America (NACA) with its Best in America Mortgage for NACA’s Home Ownership through Public Housing Assistance (HOTPHA) program.
Invest Newark is an N.J. nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation.