This month we would like to share a true success story that touches five SobelCo clients simultaneously by presenting this case study which reflects the positive power of collaboration.

Collaboration is commonly defined as “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.” In fact, the concept of multiple players coming together in order to gain an advantage from acting as one has been a critical topic in the nonprofit community for several years.  With funding becoming more limited and grantors more demanding, nonprofit leaders are often expected to find distinctive ways to pool their resources and to identify potential partners for projects and programs. As a result, the focus on cooperation and combined efforts is steadily increasing.

That’s exactly why the concept of a collaborative effort between New Jersey’s Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Newark (CCAN) and the Catholic Charities Diocese of Metuchen (CCDOM) to develop a joint federal low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) project is so significant for them, their clients, and the state.

How did a shared vision and effort of this magnitude evolve?

The idea to move the ‘affordable homes for seniors’ project off the drawing board and turn it into reality was initiated by Catholic Charities, which is known as one of the largest providers of affordable housing in the country.  Once conceived, it took the collective efforts of several organizations working in concert to achieve this common goal.

The first step came when the Diocese of Metuchen determined to develop affordable housing in their geographic area.  Recognizing that they did not have the real estate development and construction experience necessary to take on a project of such magnitude, they turned to the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark for help and advice based on their depth of knowledge in these LIHTC areas.  Unable to proceed independently, Catholic Charities in Metuchen (CCDOM) made the decision to establish a mutually beneficial partnership with Catholic Charities of Newark (CCAN), specifically with DOMUS Corporation – their real estate development arm. In this instance, the goal of DOMUS, which is to provide a broad range of low income and senior housing and housing-related support services to persons in need within the Archdiocese of Newark, would be expanded to include this project in the Diocese of Metuchen, specifically, in the town of Edison. 

Next, Monarch Housing, with its reputation for helping organizations develop, manage and operate permanent, affordable and supportive housing for low income individuals and persons with disabilities, served throughout as the development consultant for the project. Also, Monarch consulted with highly regarded affordable rental developments in the state of New Jersey, ranging from Trenton to Wall to Jersey City and Glassboro.

Monarch coordinated with St. Paul the Apostle Housing, which is the partnership formed by Domus and Metuchen Community Services, the real estate arm of CCDOM, to develop, construct and operate 42 new affordable homes for seniors with modest incomes and/or special needs.

The newly created collaborative effort between CCAN and CCDOM will be added to the growing list of St. Paul the Apostle Housing affordable communities now that financing has been secured. The final stage in the process was completed when the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) awarded St. Paul the Apostle federal low income housing tax credits, which were included in the $28 million funding round of highly competitive 9% tax credits announced in November 2018. Federal LIHTCs are awarded to developers to build new rental apartments or rehabilitate existing rental units for low-income households. Typically, the tax credits are sold to investors, who then provide private equity to fund construction. In return, the investors receive a dollar for dollar reduction on their federal tax returns for a period of 10 years.   Since their inception in 1986, LIHTCs have become an essential source of funding for developers who are engaged in the construction of new affordable rental units or in the rehabilitation of existing rental units for low-income households. The funding will support the construction of the St. Paul the Apostle project for constructing the 42 affordable homes for seniors with modest incomes and/or special needs that CCAN and CCDOM proposed.

John Westervelt, CEO of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Newark, noted that this partnership sends an important message to the nonprofit community, as it exemplifies the power of cooperation, sets the stage for future collaborative efforts, and reinforces the message that every organization can benefit by finding ways to be stronger together.

Please join us in congratulating our valued clients, St. Paul the Apostle, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Metuchen, DOMUS and Metuchen Community Services for their flexibility, their ability to cooperate, and their passion for providing the community with affordable housing and for seeking ways to break the cycle of poverty once and for all.