MEND Highlights Affordable Housing Impact on Economy, Receives Prestigious Recognition
Recently, leaders of Burlington County’s affordable housing organizations gathered in Burlington Township to re-focus the conversation on affordable housing and stress the important role that it plays in the county and state’s economy.
The event, held at the Springside School Apartments on Burlington-Mount Holly Road, highlighted the findings of a new report recently released by the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey focusing on the spinoff effects that Burlington County’s non-profit community development corporations, or CDCs, have had on New Jersey’s economy since 1989.
According to the report, Stronger Together: The $12 Billion Impact of Community Corporations in New Jersey, Burlington County CDCs have contributed over $670 million to the state’s economy through jobs, labor and construction, through the completion of 76 developments, including the meeting site, which was completed in 2014 and was formerly a grammar school. These developments have created 4,700 jobs, both in construction and permanent employment, and $313 million in labor income.
The event was hosted and organized by the Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development, or MEND. In addition to MEND President Matthew Reilly, the meeting was also attended by Network President and Chief Executive Officer Staci Berger, Assemblyman Troy Singleton, leaders from the Burlington County Chamber of Commerce and TD Bank, and local elected officials and community leaders from business, faith-based and non-profit organizations. The event in Burlington Township is one of several that affordable housing groups have organized throughout the state focusing on CDCs’ contributions to New Jersey and regional economies.
MEND is a national and state-award winning non-profit housing development organization founded in 1969 by nine Moorestown churches. It owns 725 units of affordable rental housing in Burlington County and southern New Jersey. It currently has only one vacancy.
In other exciting news for MEND, The Duffy School in Florence was recently honored by the Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal as one of the Best Multifamily Projects of 2015. MEND, along with Conifer Realty, redeveloped this former school into a 53-unit affordable apartment community for senior citizens aged 62 and over. The Duffy School was originally built in 1870, and in 2015 was added to the National Register of Historic Places. MEND and Conifer Realty shared this distinction with Mack-Cali, who designed a 763-unit contemporary residential tower on the Jersey City waterfront.
“MEND is very pleased to be honored by the Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal for our magnificent Duffy School Apartments project,” said Matthew Reilly, MEND President. “To be recognized across the entire region and to share the award with a great developer like Mack-Cali is very gratifying. It just goes to show that there is abundant talent and impressive accomplishments among the universe of non-profit affordable housing developers. We help to meet the urgent need for affordable housing and do so with excellence.”
“The MEND-Conifer team has blazed new trails in showing how nonprofit and for-profit developers can work together to produce top-notch rental housing for the low and moderate income residents of New Jersey,” Reilly continued. “The need is large and the development talent is in place. The two things we need most now are (1) a wider municipal willingness to get these projects started and (2) a larger financial commitment from both the federal and state governments to get these projects financed.”
“And as has been clearly indicated by the “Stronger Together” study released by the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ (HCDNNJ), these housing developments make a significant contribution to the local and regional economies where they are located: construction and permanent jobs, government tax revenue -- an estimated $12 billion economic impact in the state over the last 25 years,” Reilly concluded.