3/25/2019 5 Comments
Finding affordable housing in Bergen County can feel like a search for water in a desert. Demand is high, supply is low; and on top of those tough market realities, there is no universal application or wait list for all of the affordable units that are scattered around the region, in buildings managed by entities many have never heard of.
What many older adults could use is a central clearinghouse of information on affordable housing, Age-Friendly Teaneck and other affordable housing groups have long advocated. In response, the Bergen County Division of Senior Services is now providing one.
In January, the division hired a full-time “Housing Navigator.”
Since assuming the new post, Maureen McCormick has spent weeks researching records and legal notices in Bergen County’s 70 municipalities to compile a list of the names, locations and other pertinent details of existing developments that contain affordable units and new ones that are soon to open.
The research took some time because affordable housing in New Jersey comes in all shapes, sizes and subsidy categories. Some units are located in large complexes operated by public housing authorities. Others are in smaller buildings built by non-profit organizations that maintain their own applications and wait lists. Still others are designated units in market-rate buildings, with the application process overseen by firms that municipalities contract with as a way to make sure towns are meeting their court-mandated affordable housing requirements.
Different buildings have different income and rent rates, so it’s important for older adults to understand what they are eligible for before they begin applying.
“We have learned that there are a lot of different eligibility requirements, and lot of different application procedures, depending on the type of building,” says Jackie Kates, Project Coordinator for Age Friendly Teaneck. “It can be challenging for a senior to search for affordable housing in the county without some sort of a guide.”
The senior services division has created such a guide – a twice-a-month electronic housing list that older adults can sign up to receive. The list will be updated continually, as McCormick’s research continues and new developments open.
Some affordable housing units can become available immediately, while others have a wait list of several years, so McCormick advises seniors to submit as many applications as possible. To be added to the distribution list of the electronic housing alert, “Navigator News”, call 201-366-7400, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who We Are
Age-Friendly Teaneck formed in 2016 with this mission in mind: A great place to grow up should be a great place to grow old.