EDA Staff Dedicates Time to Revitalizing Local Community Through Habitat for Humanity of Burlington County and Greater Trenton-Princeton
Trenton, N.J., (December 13, 2017) – For the third consecutive year, New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) staff volunteered with Habitat for Humanity of Burlington County and Greater Trenton-Princeton as part of the Christie Administration’s seventh annual “Season of Service.” EDA staff worked with senior leadership on a seven-unit townhouse development on North Clinton Avenue in Trenton. This year, more than 50 EDA employees joined the Senior Leadership Team for a collaborative effort on the Trenton homes.
The combined EDA team spent more than 175 hours (3.5 hours per each volunteer) over a span of three days, working on the interior of the homes (painting, installing molding, and dust cleanup). This complex is comprised of seven townhome style units expected to be completed and occupied by April 2018 for low-income Trenton homebuyers. Habitat received a $500,000 HOME grant from the city of Trenton to support the construction of these homes. Without the voluntary labor on which Habitat for Humanity relies, they will not be able to complete the required work.
Habitat for Humanity is an international non-profit organization that brings together families and volunteers to help build affordable housing for local communities, serving over 6.8 million people worldwide to date. Habitat for Humanity of Burlington County and Greater Trenton-Princeton partners with families in need and volunteers to transform lives through decent and affordable housing. The merger of Habitat for Humanity of Burlington County merged with the Greater Trenton-Princeton branch in the beginning of 2017 has expanded its capacity to acquire more land, renovate more homes, and work with more partners. Together, these two branches of Habitat have built 140 homes throughout the Burlington County and Mercer County area with assistance from volunteers and community partners.
Habitat sells the homes to low income families with zero interest financing, payments not exceeding 30 percent of gross income, and no down payment required. Participating families must complete 250 to 400 hours of “sweat equity” to build their home and the homes of other Habitat families, work in Habitat’s ReStores, and attend Homeowner Education classes, meetings, and special events.
Prior to the merger of Habitat for Humanity’s Princeton-Trenton and Burlington entities earlier this year, Habitat of Burlington County received a loan in 2015 through the EDA’s Small Business Fund to purchase the building it had been leasing since 2014. Prior to that, the entity’s corporate offices and ReStore operations had been located in Cinnaminson. The move to Maple Shade was driven by the goal of expanding and attracting more customers to the ReStore, which sells donated, secondhand items to raise money for the organization.
The Christie Administration’s annual Season of Service program encourages Administration staff to perform volunteer work at various locations across the State to help New Jersey residents. Continuing the success of previous service initiatives, this year’s activities are focused on serving New Jersey’s most at-risk residents.
In the spirit of Season of Service, EDA has undertaken its third annual Community Challenge Initiative, through which each department within the EDA participates in a community service project. Organizations supported under the 2017 Community Challenge include Farmers Against Hunger, Ronald McDonald House, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Homefront, and Feed America – Puerto Rico.