As Newark continues to grow the Baraka administration is committed to ensuring that all residents have access to decent and affordable housing. The Office of Affordable Housing will lead the Mayor’s initiative to create and preserve affordable homes and apartments in all of the city’s neighborhoods. The office will also coordinate the implementation and oversee the enforcement of the city’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance.
As an office within Newark’s Department of Economic and Housing Development (EHD), the Office of Affordability and Sustainable Housing (OASH) works to help achieve Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s vision of quality and affordable housing for all Newark residents at every income level.
OASH works within EHD and with numerous partners in a variety of ways to execute Mayor Baraka’s strategy of meeting affordable housing needs for all Newark residents through the production, preservation, and protection of affordable units.
What “affordable” housing typically means
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determines what rent levels are affordable based on the incomes in a given area. HUD defines housing as affordable if it costs less than one-third (1/3) of a household’s monthly income.
What affordability is based on in our area
For all cities across the country, an Area Median Income (AMI) is defined each year by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) based on annual median household income within a region. For Newark, this region is called the Newark, NJ HUD Metro Fair Market Rent Area (FMR) and includes Essex County, NJ; Morris County, NJ; Sussex County, NJ; and Union County, NJ.
In 2020, the AMI for the Newark, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area was $94,200. This reflects the higher incomes in our surrounding suburbs.
This is important because housing policy and finance are based on this measurement and determine affordability when factoring income and rent levels. For any given affordable housing unit, HUD authorizes the affordable housing provider to charge a fair market rent based on the AMI level the unit is intended to house and the size of the housing unit.
This results in the following income limits for what is defined as affordable housing based on the HUD rules for our area:
What affordable means in Newark
The FMR numbers used to calculate what is affordable for the region are considerably higher than the City of Newark’s Median Household Income of $35,199. Recent assessments point to Newark’s predominate housing needs as being at the 30% AMI, or extremely low income mark.
Achieving greater affordability
Most affordable housing requires subsidies to stay that way. In addition to funding, meeting the significant affordable housing needs in Newark of safe, decent housing that is affordable to every Newark household is why Mayor Baraka continues to take action at the local level through interventions like inclusionary zoning, all while continuing to advocate for greater public investment at the state and federal levels.
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