Creating Access to Home Ownership & Healthier Homes
A Neighborhood Initiative
With our partners, we're striving to ensure healthy, affordable and stable housing for all New Brunswick households.
A crucial component of neighborhood quality of life is the quality and affordability of its housing. New Brunswick has a unique housing market that poses many challenges, especially for New Brunswick’s low and moderate-income families. They have to navigate high rents, limited vacancy, investor pressures, and a deteriorating housing stock.
NBT and our partners collaborate to tackle these challenges head-on, particularly through supports for first-time home buyers, the development of new or rehabbed housing units, and a healthy housing program.
Enabling First-Time Homeowners
NBT and our partners in the New Brunswick Housing Collaborative are delivering supports and resources for first-time New Brunswick homebuyers, with a special focus on low and moderate-income and immigrant households for whom homeownership had never been an option. In three years, the Collaborative’s pipeline will have supported 15 households to become first-time homeowners, with at least half of those buying a home in New Brunswick.
Housing Rehabilitation & Development
We are returning blighted homes to the market, both directly through property rehabilitation and indirectly through policy advocacy. Directly, three formerly foreclosed homes in the neighborhood have already been rehabbed and inhabited, with more properties in the pipeline to match up with families ready to put down roots. Indirectly, our partnership and advocacy led to the implementation of two local ordinances that give the City new tools to return vacant and abandoned properties to productive use.
New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative (BUILD)
The New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative was created as part of the BUILD Health Challenge sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other partners. This initiative aims to improve health outcomes by identifying and mitigating the housing health hazards facing New Brunswick residents, particularly within the Esperanza and Unity Square neighborhoods. A team of community leaders have been trained and deployed as Healthy Housing Ambassadors to conduct home assessments and assist residents in navigating these challenges. Ultimately, the goal is to create system changes in our local health and social institutions, government, and other entities to ensure the overall sustainability of a healthy housing focus in New Brunswick.
volunteer residents participating
hours performed in community improvement activities
residents satisfied with neighborhood
Citywide impacts due to resident advocacy:
workers gaining mandatory paid sick time
Municipal IDs issued
vacant properties rehabilitated
Completed cohort sessions
families graduated from FLA
collectively saved for future investment
personal goals completed
Within three years, NBT and our partners in the Housing Collaborative will have substantially impacted dynamics in New Brunswick’s housing market, particularly for LMI and immigrant families in Esperanza and Unity Square, by:
vacant properties registered by the City
of abandoned properties in Esperanza neighborhood rehabilitated or demolished
healthy home assessments conducted
NBT and its partners will have contributed to the growth of local entrepreneurs and small businesses by:
entrepreneur-participants in the Mercado Esperanza marketplace
graduates from the Community Business Academy
new community murals on the French Street corridor
ever French Street business directory and brochure
in funds committed to French Street façade grants
- New Brunswick’s aging housing stock has a median construction year of 1957. Approximately 85% of properties were constructed prior to the end of lead paint usage in 1978.
- 80% of New Brunswick households rent, an increase from 75% in 2000. There are only a handful of sub-neighborhoods that are majority-homeowner. Even when potential homeowners look to buy in New Brunswick, it is hard to compete with investors dominating the sales market.
- High rents: the city’s median rent, is $1,343, and in Esperanza and Unity Square it’s even higher, rising above $1,500 in some areas. In these neighborhoods, between 70 and 78% of renter households are cost-burdened, meaning that they spend more than 30% of their household income on housing; between 40 and 58% spend more than 50%.
- Absentee landlords, overcrowding and a proliferation of informal home-sharing arrangements exacerbate health and safety risks and complicate landlord-tenant disputes.
- Cultural, linguistic and legal barriers strain the ability of New Brunswick’s many Latino immigrant families to navigate the housing market and exercise their rights.
NBT partners with the following organizations to make this program available to the people of New Brunswick: New Brunswick Housing Collaborative, American Red Cross (Smoke Detectors), Robert Wood Johnson EMS, NJCC, PRAB, Unity Square and BUILD Housing Partners.