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