January 25, 2021


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Newark, N.J. – January 25, 2021 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced today that the City of Newark and Invest Newark were named one of eight recipients of the 2021 CommunityWINS® grant program, a joint effort by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo to advance housing affordability solutions in local communities. The grants totaling $1 million recognize outstanding mayoral-based initiatives that assist their city in reducing the cost burden of housing and increase access to safe, affordable places to live.

Each nonprofit will receive funding aimed at assisting cities with the opportunity to invest, strengthen, and address housing affordability issues in municipalities across the United States.

“Home ownership is essential to building wealth and achieving financial independence for Newark residents, as well as reducing blight in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Baraka. “I thank Wells Fargo and the U.S. Conference of Mayors for awarding us this CommunityWINS grant that will allow us to continue to create a more empowered, collaborative, and equitable Newark.”

In recognition of its Section 8 Homeownership Conversion Program, the City of Newark and Invest Newark will receive $75,000, which will be used to support the conversion of blighted city-owned properties into homeownership opportunities for Newarkers at income levels lower than 80% area median income.

Newark was honored alongside Denver; Anchorage; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Frankfort, Ky.; Chicago; Brownsville, Texas; and Waterville, Maine.

“It is an honor to be recognized for our work on such an important issue. In Newark we have prioritized investment in solutions that will ensure safe and affordable housing for our residents,” said Bernel Hall, President & CEO, Invest Newark. “This CommunityWINS Grant will allow us to expand that important work and increase access to this vital program for more who need it. We are deeply grateful to Wells Fargo and the U.S. Conference of Mayors for putting a spotlight on the housing crisis facing cities across the country, and we are hopeful that more solutions like ours will continue to scale to bring greater relief to Americans in need.”

“The 2020 CommunityWINS Grant Program is an opportunity to honor and showcase impactful affordable housing efforts that are making a real difference in communities across the country,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “We appreciate Wells Fargo and the Wells Fargo Foundation for their support of the CommunityWINS program, which also celebrates the leadership of mayors and city governments.”

An independent panel of judges selected recipients of the grants funded by Wells Fargo from 139 applicants representing small, medium, large and metropolitan cities as part of the competitive application process. The awards were presented virtually at the Conference’s 89th Winter Meeting.

The CommunityWINS grant program is administered by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and funded by Wells Fargo.

“Even prior to the economic fallout caused by COVID-19, many vulnerable households were struggling with housing solutions,” said Nate Hurst, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “To foster a truly inclusive recovery, we have to recognize that the challenge of housing is even more profound in communities of color and be intentional about prioritizing the needs of underserved communities. CommunityWINS is an important example of the public and private sectors working together to help more people have a safe, affordable place to call home.”