Revitalization and Affordable Housing Take Center Stage at Perth Amboy City Council Meeting

The Perth Amboy City Council recently delved into a range of issues affecting the local community, with significant emphasis on housing affordability, neighborhood revitalization, and a forward-thinking 10-year plan. The council members also expressed enthusiasm for the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) program, which could potentially generate up to a million dollars in tax credits for community development.

Douglas Semon, executive director of the housing authority, kicked off the meeting by elaborating on the authority’s mission to provide affordable and safe housing to residents. He highlighted a range of programs and initiatives including the Housing Choice Voucher program, the Family Self-Sufficiency program, and the Section 8 Home Ownership Voucher program. These initiatives were not only providing much-needed assistance but also empowering participants to graduate from the self-sufficiency program, leading to home purchases without housing subsidies. The council expressed appreciation for these efforts, notably the funding received, including a substantial $990,000 energy assistance grant.

The potential of the NRTC program took center stage during the meeting, with the council members expressing enthusiasm for the project’s potential to uplift diverse neighborhoods, provide sustainable housing solutions, spur economic growth, and improve the overall quality of life. The city’s acceptance into the program’s qualified project pool opens the door to giving out up to a million dollars in tax credits to vendors who donate towards building up the community. The council now faces the task of attracting business owners who owe income tax to the state and persuading them to direct those funds towards the program.

Victor Taris, who handles operations for the Gateway neighborhood, underscored the community-driven nature of the residents. He provided insight into community engagement events, partnerships with organizations such as the police and fire departments, YMCA, medical center, arts council, schools, and faith-based organizations. Events from June to the present, including a senior hair salon, an arts and music festival, a program to provide medical insurance for children, and Zumba classes for seniors, were highlighted as successful initiatives that received a positive response from residents.

The council members also discussed community programs they had organized, including the “Girls in Gear” program, National Night Out event, Gateway Neighborhood Movie Night, and a collaboration with the Visiting Nurse Association of New Jersey to provide flu shots to seniors and other residents. Council President Milady Tejeda highlighted the efforts to secure investments for their plans, including organizing the Gateway NRTC investor search.

Looking ahead, the council discussed the 10-year neighborhood plan they had drafted and secured approval for. The plan aims to build a united and empowered community, ensure quality affordable housing, create economic opportunities, cultivate vibrant parks and green spaces, and improve transportation safety. Mayor Helmin J. Caba commended the council’s efforts and encouraged continued support and involvement from the community.

The meeting also touched on several concerns, including a contaminated property at Seaman Street and the allocation of funds generated from police car use at construction sites. Despite these concerns, no clear resolution was reached during the meeting. The council also discussed several resolutions, including the purchase of a Chevrolet Tahoe for the police department and grant applications for alcoholism and drug abuse programs.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Helmin J. Caba
City Council Officials:
Milady Tejeda, Hailey V. Cruz, Rose B. Morales, Kenneth Puccio, Bienvenido BJ Torres

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