The tractors are hard at work around the Lakewood Commons development in the Vine Street area of Lakewood, NJ, where 66 new affordable homes are being built.
The new homes comprise Phase Four of the “NJ HAND” affordable housing program, a non-profit project created by BMG and The Lakewood Vaad. NJ Hand is directed by Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz and it is administered by Rabbi Shalom Landman. One hundred and ninety two units were completed during the initial three phases, and form the basis of a beautiful thriving community.
No doubt, home prices in Lakewood have risen considerably in recent years, and these new units will enable scores of local families to acquire a home and live with dignity, in a way that would otherwise be unattainable for them. The majority of the new units will have four bedrooms and approximately 2,300 square feet of space, with a highly attractive and practical layout. Twenty-one units will be sold by public lottery to families who meet specific low income criteria, with the sale price only $169,146. The remaining homes will be sold by public lottery to families who meet moderate income criteria, at a slightly higher, but still incredibly affordable price.
These new homes in phase four are expected to be ready for occupancy just under one year from now. More information about home specs, income guidelines and how to apply for the lottery is scheduled to be publicized in June.
Funding for this project, including a $1.3 million grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank, has been secured through the ongoing collaborative efforts of Rabbi Aaron Kotler, Congressman Chris Smith, Mayor Ray Coles and Rabbi Lefkowitz, among others. Special thanks is also due to Committeemen Menashe Miller and Meir Lichtenstein, who have supported NJ Hand from inception.
Mayor Coles has been particularly involved in NJ HAND since its earliest days, and its main street is names “Coles Way” in his honor. The Mayor relates his excitement that the latest phase is nearing fruition: “It is very humbling when someone comes up to me, tells me they live on Coles Way and thanks me for helping them attain the dream of owning their own home,” he says. “Of all the projects I have been involved in during my tenure on the Township Committee, Affordable Housing is definitely the closest to my heart.”