T he State Department of Community Affairs is accepting voucher applications from low-income families who may need the government's assistance to pay their rent, according to an ad the state agency has placed in the Reporter this weekend.
The vouchers are likely to be snapped up quickly, as families who meet the income limits will be able to take advantage of an affordable way to crack the increasingly expensive Hoboken rents. Income limits stretch from $18,600 for one person to $35,100 for an eight-person family.
Those who receive the more than 80 vouchers available will be able to use them to pay a portion of the rent to landlords who accept vouchers.
One local developer who accepts vouchers cited the announcement as evidence of the state's commitment to ensuring that affordable housing options remain in Hoboken, currently a hot-button political issue in town. That developer, the Applied Housing company, operates 17 low- and moderate-income housing complexes with almost 1,000 units in the mile-square city.
Two years ago the company's president, Joe Barry, signed an agreement with the state that some local housing activists have complained will lead to a dramatic reduction in the number of affordable units available at Applied-controlled properties. The deal allows Applied to raise the rents on apartments to market rates once current tenants leave, provided that the apartment is first offered to any tenant with a voucher. Once a unit goes to market rates it still must be offered to a tenant with a voucher if it becomes available again.
The deal also guarantees that 20 percent of all units in the complexes will be dedicated to low-income tenants even if the developer has to dig into his own pocket to help pay their rents.
Current tenants are allowed to stay in the buildings by using vouchers.
In an ad that appears opposite the state's announcement in the Reporter, Barry trumpeted the state action, saying, "the vouchers, which number over 80, are to preserve housing affordability in Hoboken." Those who secure them will have first crack at any units that become available in Applied complexes, according to the terms of the state deal.
City gettin' a deal on Harleys
I t sounds almost too good to be true. For a net cost of $10,000, the city's police department is going to trade in six Harley-Davidson motorcycles for six brand new ones, according to a bid proposal the city council considered Wednesday night.
To get the background on the deal, the council turned to Business Administrator George Crimmins. The administrator, whose father used to run the city's police department, turned out to be a fountain of two-wheel motorbike knowledge.
"We are able to do this because Harleys have a high buy-back value to begin with and there is a high mark-up on ones that have been used for police work," said the business administrator.
Despite the reasonable price, Councilman Dave Roberts wondered why the city needed Harleys at all. "Usually cities that have Harleys have highways," he said. "In this city there is not even time for those motorcycles to go for an extended period. Most of them just do traffic. They go for 200 to 300 feet and then stop."
Its not their muscle that causes the police department to choose Harleys, Crimmins explained, it's their durability. Crimmins then walked the council through other vehicles the department could buy, explaining that some of them had "tinny" engines and others were less safe.
The council approved the bid without further comment.
Senator announces new grants
S tate Sen. Bernard Kenny (D-33rd Dist.) recently announced that $1.7 million in State transportation improvements will be divided into sections of his legislative district, with $206,000 was set to resurface various streets in Weehawken.
Kenny also said that resurfacing grants were approved totaling $116,000 for 56th Street, $45,000 for Highland Place and $48,000 for Monitor Place.
"All of these grants will help improve the quality of life for our residents," said Kenny.
Toy drive continues
A slew of local business have agreed to host toy drops for a toy drive coordinated by Let's Celebrate Inc., a local non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating hunger and its underlying causes. Those businesses include Dr. Belich's office (1216 Washington), Willie McBride's (616 Grand), The Office (306 Washington), Grimaldi's Pizza (133 Clinton), Stone Soup (903 Willow), Shiny Nails (410 Washington) and Louise and Jerry's Tavern (329 Washington).
Post office open extra hours for holidays
T he main post office at 89 River St. will be open on Sunday, Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to try and help residents get their holiday packages out, according to postmaster Artie Tate. It will also be open from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday, Dec. 18 to Thursday, Dec. 21.