Michaels Development and the Housing Authority Develop Affordable Housing Community in South Camden

Michaels Development has teamed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to open Morgan Village, a new 40-unit rental townhouse community serving low- and moderate-income families in the Morgan Village neighborhood of South Camden.

Camden, N.J.—Michaels Development has teamed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to open Morgan Village, a new 40-unit rental townhouse community serving low- and moderate-income families in the Morgan Village neighborhood of South Camden.

“Camden, New Jersey, although once a thriving industrial town, has for the past decade been more known for its problems than its progress,” Kristina Vagen, Michaels’ program manager for the development, tells MHN. “The city has been working hard to revitalize Camden, to create both quality housing opportunities as well as jobs. Morgan Village accomplished both for the city, creating 51 construction jobs and four permanent management positions.”

The new Morgan Village community serves families with a range of incomes, as well as public housing residents and is an important milestone in the revitalization of this important neighborhood of South Camden.

“It also has five units reserved for households headed by a special needs individual (as defined by NJHMFA), and in this case, all the units have been rented to formerly homeless households,” Vagen says. “The fact that all 40 units were leased up in record time shows the need for more affordable housing opportunities in this area, and the leadership of both the Housing Authority and the City, as well as the neighborhood groups that supported this project from the beginning is very special.”

Although Michaels has been in Camden for a number of years, including partnering with the City and the Housing Authority on the Roosevelt Manor HOPE VI, which led to revitalization of Branch Village, another public housing development two blocks away, this was the first new residential development in the Morgan Village neighborhood in over 30 years.

The units offer spacious, energy efficient apartments with central AC, washers and dryers, driveways, and immediate access to a new management office, complete with a small computer center and a social services office. The Housing Authority, in conjunction with Interstate Realty Management, will be offering a range of supportive services to Morgan Village residents free-of-charge.

“Afterschool programs for children, job training for adults, and case management for special needs individuals will be provided both on-site and six blocks away at the Interstate’s Centerville South management building,” Vagen says.  “We sponsor a competitive youth cycling program at another Camden property and we will likely try to get one started for Morgan Village youth as this has been a very successful program that the youth enjoy and that is positive for them in so many ways.”

The $12.6 million community, which benefited from more than $6.5 million in stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is the latest milestone in an ambitious strategy undertaken by the city and the Housing Authority of the City of Camden to revitalize a neighborhood once blighted by neglect.

In addition to the federal stimulus grant, funding for Morgan Village included equity raised from the sale of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and tax-exempt bonds issued from The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency as well as special needs funds from NJHMFA and affordable housing program funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank.