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2/4/2019 - How Habitat Is Helping Hamilton

How Habitat Is Helping Hamilton

Non Profit’s Partnership Aids Community’s Neighborhood Improvement Program

Fixing safety issues, preserving housing and maintaining the community’s quality of life are all laudable goals of Hamilton’s Neighborhood Improvement Program.

Its led to a nearly 70 percent success rate in correcting violations after proactive initial notices in recent years.

But what happens in those instances when a property owner desires to make the needed repairs, but lacks the financial resources to do so?

Hamilton’s Housing and Urban Development Office is able to assist some income eligible residents through its Housing Rehabilitation Program – which offers grants to make needed repairs that can be forgiven after a decade if the resident remains in the same home.  

But to help even more homes in need of repairs or abatement, Hamilton has teamed up with one area non-profit: Habitat for Humanity of Burlington County and Greater Trenton-Princeton.

Dating back to last year, discussions between Hamilton Township and Habitat for Humanity related to affordable housing initiatives also led to a conversation regarding Hamilton’s Neighborhood Improvement Program and assisting homeowners with repairs.

“There was clearly an overlapping of our shared goals for both our community and Habitat,” explains Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede.  “Our Neighborhood Improvement Program seeks to protect our local housing stock and correct safety and quality of life issues, while Habitat for Humanity works to ‘transform lives through decent and affordable housing’.  Any instance where we were able to work together for the betterment of Hamilton Township is a true win-win scenario.”

An early example of the partnership was when Hamilton’s Zoning Officer reached out to Habitat for Humanity to see if they might be able to assist a Mercerville homeowner whose property suffered from roofing and shingle issues, peeling paint, as well as vegetative overgrowth across the property.

The result was very positive; and late last fall, Habitat volunteers assisted the property owner in making the needed property abatements.  The homeowner was so pleased with the assistance that she received, she is planning to volunteer for Habitat during a similar project in the future.

Hamilton has also provided Habitat other properties in need of assistance, which the non-profit will look to help along with its other efforts across the community.

Township officials will serve as a conduit between eligible property owners and Habitat, while Habitat will also take applications through what it calls its Neighborhood Revitalization Program.  

While Habitat will use income criteria to determine assistance eligibility and seek very modest fees (based on income) from homeowners to help share in the repair costs, the partnership will help to make even more home repairs across the township.

“I am looking forward to continuing our partnership with Habitat to strengthen our local housing and enhance our community’s high quality of life,” says Mayor Yaede. 

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The following link is to a video of Mayor Kelly Yaede speaking about this effort along with Hamilton Zoning Officer Mike Cosma

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGoBJqir6D8&t=0s&list=PLhEk4oEF5dmZ1oqxaKS3L_6cYCsVGWYtq&index=38