Freedom Village at Toms River has been approved by the township's planning board and will be built on 10 acres of land at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and West Hickory Street, township officials confirmed to Patch.
The development will be a rental community consisting of six two-story buildings containing one, two and three bedroom apartments, according to Project Freedom, the developer. There will be 14 one bedroom, 40 two bedroom, and 18 three bedroom units, all of which will be wheelchair accessible.The project will go toward bringing down Toms River's affordable housing quota under the state's so-called Mount Laurel doctrine, a state Supreme Court decision that affirms a person's right to affordable housing.
The units "will be marketed to persons who are disabled, as well as to the general population," Project Freedom said in a memo issued recently.
In the memo, Project Freedom said it will work with the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Division of Mental Health as well as various supportive housing agencies to identify clients who are in need of the housing, likely in the two and three bedroom units.
The one-bedroom units are deed restricted for persons earning 60 percent or less of the Toms River area's median income – known as "very low income" housing under federal standards.
Because of the federal funding involved in the project, Project Freedom will be legally required to affirmatively market the units, however the developer expects that, because of the lack of handicap accessible housing in the area, most units will be rented by people who are disabled. Still, any eligible family that meets the income requirements could potentially live in the complex.
On Wednesday, Congressman Jon Runyan's (R-3) office announced a $442,500 grant to Project Freedom to go toward the project, with additional financing coming from the National Equity Fund, Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the New Jersey Mortgage and Housing Finance Agency Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing, the Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund Community Development Block Grant Program, TD Bank, and Toms River Affordable Housing funds.
“Although the economy has shown some signs of improvement, I know that people in South Jersey are still struggling,” said Runyan in a statement. “Federal affordable housing programs play a critical role in helping families get back on their feet. The Affordable Housing Program has been very successful in supporting housing initiatives across New Jersey, and I applaud the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and Investors Bank for their decision to invest in much-needed affordable rental housing in Toms River.”