How hospitals could be part of the affordable housing equation

Over the next several months, a transformation will take root in a parking lot across from St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, turning it into a first-of-its-kind housing development. It’s being built, largely, with the help of a neighboring hospital.

St. Joseph’s Health is partnering with the state to kick off the first Hospital Housing Partnership Program. It’s a new take on getting community anchors to invest in affordable and supportive housing in their neighborhood. The Barclay Street development will be the first, with 70 units including one-to three-bedroom apartments geared toward frequent users of the emergency department just a few hundred feet away.

The idea is to build a support system around those that need it most. The low-income residents approved to live in this community will be eligible for housing vouchers to subsidize their rent. Each building will have units set aside for those with special needs. The bottom floor at Barclay Street will act as a health care hub.

The Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency will run the program and offer a $12 million pot to start. The New Jersey Development Corporation is in charge of the site in Paterson, but it’s the hospital financing that makes the model possible.

It’s all confidential right now, but eight other hospitals have expressed interest in this partnership and NJTV News is told at least three are already in talks with their board to move forward with development. The construction at the Barclay Street Apartments is expected to be ready by spring 2021.