Repairs for affordable housing projects in West Creek and Asbury Park get a green light in a $225,000,000 statewide arrangement by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA).

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Seventy-two Cedar Run units and 215 under the auspices of the Asbury Park Housing Authority are among 21 groupings in nine counties awarded funding reservations to permit tax-exempt bond financing for either rehab or new construction, encompassing 2,715 apartments in all. Ninety-eight percent of the units are classified affordable, state officials said.

HMFA Executive Director Anthony Marchetta credits the agency's Conduit Bond Financing Program, Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds tied to Superstorm Sandy, and New Jersey Economic Development Authority's Residential Economic Redevelopment and Growth subsidies with hiking the demand for tax-exempt bonds.

"In order to be fair," Marchetta said in prepared comments, "since volume cap is needed in order to issue tax exempt bonds, we had to make the selection process a competitive one."

Award recipients were chosen from among developers with projects seeking the four-percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), who met selection criteria approved in late May.

The HMFA Board approved the guidelines to create an objective way to award reservations as financing opens for projects beyond 2016 priorities, which include Superstorm Sandy projects getting Fund for the Restoration of Multifamily Housing (FRM) and Sandy Special Needs Housing Funds (SSNHF), along with non-Superstorm projects.

The Conduit Bond program allows for issuance of tax-exempt and taxable bonds on a pass-through basis for the borrower. State officials said it was employed at great length to leverage the second round of CDBG Disaster Recovery money through FRM, released in 2014, and filled a financing gap for the Four-Percent LIHTC program.

The remainder of the projects are in Essex, Cumberland, Camden, Union, Morris, Middlesex, and Hudson Counties.

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