The Long Branch Housing Authority (LBHA) is nearing the end of it's largest project to date with the Hope VI initiative.
The revitalization of the LBHA's housing complexes is part of a national initiative known as HOPE VI that pumped $6.7 billion in federal funding into America’s cities within the past 18 years. It’s been an effort to replace distressed housing projects with townhouses and other low-rise developments designed to provide tenants with a cleaner and safer way of life.
The final eight units that are currently being built at Garfield Court will signify the completion of the LBHA's Hope VI program.
Under Long Branch’s $20 million HOPE VI grant, housing complexes that had provided 290 units of public housing were improved and downsized to 246 units. Two hundred and thirty-eight units have been built so far, and the remaining eight will be finished soon.
The initiative, which began in 2005, included the renovation of Seaview Manor, Presidential Estates and Garfield Court 1 and 2. It also included the building of the Bucky James Community Center, which is located near Garfield Court.
"We have been ably assisted by a brilliant development team in Penrose Properties, based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania," LBHA Chief of Staff Daniel Gibson said today.
Gibson said the one of the eight new units has already been sold and it will be ready by the end of January.
"We will complete the remaining seven units as we complete a sale," Gibson said.
Thomas Lorber of Woodward Realty, which is in charge of selling the units at Garfield Court, said he has been impressed by them.
"One of things I am very impressed with is the price point they've been able to achieve for a 3-bedroom home a mile from the beach," Lober said. "A 3-bedroom for $148,000; there's not a lot of places you can go to in Monmouth County to find a value like that."
Gibson said "a lot of work" has gone into the completion of the Hope VI program for the LBHA.
"It's a feeling of satisfaction," Gibson said. "If you look at this community, especially at night, and you stand off and look at the lights from the various sites, it's very fulfilling, because we know what it was like before we started."