A unique project to bring supportive needs housing to domestic violence survivors has been recognized with a 2015 Innovation in Governance Award from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
“Dina’s Dwellings” consists of 10 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) for domestic violence survivors, housed in the repurposed sanctuary of the historic First Reformed Church on Bayard Street.
Overseen by Town Clock Community Development Corporation, the $3.4 million project is supported by $889,563 in HOME funds pledged by the City of New Brunswick. Additional funds have been pledged by NJ-HMFA Community Block Development Grant Disaster Relief Funds, Bergen County United Way, a Planning Grant from the NJ Historic Trust, a Johnson & Johnson Planning Grant and private donations.
Dina’s Dwellings tenants will be chosen and placed by the social services organizations signed on to this project. They will pay about a third of the rent for their apartment with the rest to be provided by federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing vouchers. All tenants will be referred to social service organizations throughout the area as they work toward a new life. They will be permitted to stay as long as needed.
The City adheres to the National “Housing First” model, which emphasizes the importance of PSH for homeless residents. By meeting this basic human need, residents have the foundation they need to successfully address other issues in their lives, such as education, employment, addiction and mental health.
“When we first started down the road of envisioning this project, we were not sure how it would come to fruition, as there were many hurdles to overcome,” said Rev. Susan Kramer-Mills, Executive Director for Town Clock CDC. “Receiving this award as part of our journey means a great deal to us all.”
Dina’s Dwellings is projected to open its doors this coming January. It will be the second PSH project for domestic violence survivors in the state. The first is also located in New Brunswick, overseen by Women Aware.
Innovation in Governance Awards recognize projects that employ creative solutions to issues faced by municipalities. New Brunswick was one of three towns to receive the award during the annual Mayor’s Box Luncheon at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Convention in Atlantic City on November 18.
“We’re proud of Dina’s Dwellings. It not only meets an important need for our residents, but also gives new life to a building of important historical value to the City of New Brunswick,” said Mayor Jim Cahill. “We graciously thank the League for recognizing the ongoing hard work that has made this project a reality.”