By STEVE LENOX
PATERSON, NJ – A project previously approved by the Paterson Planning Board that will bring 56 units of affordable housing to several currently vacant lots near St. Joseph’s Health won the additional support of the Paterson City Council through their granting of a 30-year PILOT tax abatement Tuesday.
Under the agreement the project will contribute approximately $1.6 million to the city’s treasury.
“We have to entice developers to come to bring projects like this to Paterson,” Council President Flavio Rivera said, likening it to the effort underway to bring new housing to the site of the former Paterson Armory, returning it to the tax roll for the first time in decades.
Providing access to top quality healthcare is the core mission of any hospital, but for St. Joseph’s Health, Ken Morris, VP for External Affairs has said, their efforts extend well beyond the extraordinary work of the doctors, nurses, and other professionals inside their facilities.
Through “compassion, collaboration, and partnership,” he added at a recent event, the healthcare giant is also working to improve “health outcomes driven by factors outside hospitals and clinics” by tackling societal ills such as lack of housing, violence, food insecurity. This project reflects that he indicated in his virtual appearance before the body he served on for 16 years.
The first project under an innovative state partnership program to promote hospital investment in affordable and supportive housing in their communities, including homes for residents with special needs and experiencing high utilization of emergency services, the proposed Barclay Street housing development will bring a mix of affordable one, two, and three-bedroom apartments to families, potentially including hospital employees. The project’s developer will be Paterson-based New Jersey Community Development Corporation who will partner with St. Joseph’s Health.
Casting her affirmative vote Fourth Ward Councilwoman Ruby Cotton offered similar sentiments to Morris, saying that she’s seen firsthand the impact decent housing has on resident’s health which Second Ward Councilman Gilman Choudhury commended NJCDC for their “transformative impact” the non-profit organization has made on the neighborhoods surrounding the Great Falls.
Residents accepted for special needs housing will be offered medical care through St. Joseph’s Health with the anticipation that housing and care management will reduce unnecessary ED use. The Barclay Street housing project will also include space for the delivery of social, health, and wellness services, including workshops to inform and guide tenants centered around issues affecting health, and an information hub to link tenants to a broad range of services and providers.
“What’s particularly exciting is St. Joe’s embracing the fact that healthy communities include a lot more than health care itself, and that truly healthy communities include things like decent housing, job training programs, quality education, and youth recreation,” Guarasci, Founder and CEO of NJCDC said previously. “Working together, St. Joe’s and NJCDC can build a stronger, healthier Paterson by addressing these and other social determinants of health.”
“Certain individuals and groups are more privy to advantages then others,” First Ward Councilman Mike Jackson lamented casting the lone dissenting vote.
Rents will be affordable, based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines. The development will also include a 15,000 square foot community meeting space, which will be open to the public. The site is close to bus and train service, as well as the Garden State Parkway and routes 46, 80, and 19.