ULEC launches $6 million program promoting homeownership for NJ’s Black and Latino residents

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The Urban League of Essex County (ULEC) has launched a $6 million program promoting homeownership for Newark, New Jersey’s Black and Latino residents, in partnership with National Community Investment Fund (NCIF) and Wells Fargo.

ULEC will develop and sell 10 two-family homes in the Fairmount neighborhood of Newark, each with a unit for the homebuyer and an affordable rental unit that can help defray the cost of owning the home. The homes are designed and built “for economy and efficiency during ongoing climate change.” By reducing their carbon footprint and greenhouse emissions, the buildings “contribute to racial equity and economic and environmental justice.”

ULEC will sell homes at below market sales prices to low-income homebuyers and provide them with mortgage financing with favorable terms, including an interest-only option. ULEC’s program combines a saving and wealth-building component with benefits that include homeownership and landlord readiness training and personalized financial empowerment counseling.

“Transforming communities requires capital,” said Vivian Cox Fraser. “We are excited to utilize the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) program to address the racial wealth gap and build homeownership.

“We’ve worked very hard to create wealth among low-income communities, especially minority communities, to revitalize Newark and create generational wealth.”

Officials say the NMTC program attracts private capital into low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their federal income tax in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial intermediaries called Community Development Entities (CDEs).

“NCIF is thrilled to partner with the Urban League of Essex County and Wells Fargo on this groundbreaking pathway to make eight individuals become homeowners to build wealth,” said Saurabh Narain, president and CEO, NCIF. “The Urban League’s track record and its affiliation with a national network of partners make them the ideal collaborator to help us replicate this unique structure across the country.”

Wells Fargo Bank contributed $1.9 million in equity to the project through its purchase of the New Markets Tax Credits.

ULEC also partnered with Monge Capital Advisors, a Newark based Minority Business Enterprise firm, as a key advisor to this transaction.

“This transaction structure and partnership with the City of Newark, ULEC and NCIF will go a big step forward to revitalize Newark,” said Jeff Monge, Founder, Monge Capital Advisors.”d

Since its founding in 1917 by William B. Ashby, the Urban League has provided training, assistance and direction to thousands of African-Americans and others in the Essex County area. “Our mission is to assist African American and other disadvantaged urban residents in the achievement of social and economic equality,” the organization says in a statement.

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