VINELAND — A low-income housing project in the works for more than a decade is now under construction.

Melrose Court will have 17 single-family homes available for rent when it is completed, which should be in about a year, according to officials with the Vineland Housing Authority.

The $5.8 million project is a joint venture between the Housing Authority, which will oversee Melrose Court, and Capital Bank of New Jersey. Capital Bank is a limited partner in the venture and agreed to purchase about $1.8 million worth of low-income tax credits for the project.

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Melrose Court is the Housing Authority’s first major project since the 50-unit Asselta Acres was renovated about 10 years ago, Executive Director Jacqueline Jones said.

Jones said there are hundreds of people on the authority’s property waiting lists.

“There is a great need,” she said.

The homes at Melrose Acres, which is located between West Almond Street and West Chestnut Avenue, will be one-story, 1,150-square-foot dwellings with three bedrooms and one-and-a-half bathrooms each. The homes are open to families whose incomes are 50 percent less than the area’s median income. Jones said rent will likely be about 30 percent of a family’s income.

“This is very important for 17 families looking for a home,” Mayor Ruben Bermudez said.

While Melrose Acres is not rent-to-own, City Council President Anthony Fanucci said it will hopefully be a first step toward home ownership, “which is an integral part of the American dream.”

The project as originally developed was a home-for-sale venture, Jones said. That idea changed as the economy soured.

The Housing Authority finally settled on a low-income rental project, which is “what we do,” Jones said.

Capital Bank President David Hanrahan said tax-credit projects are “usually the domain of much larger banking institutions.”

“However, because Capital Bank is eager to find innovative and effective ways to support our community, and affordable housing in particular, we worked hard to find a way to make the investment,” he said. “We’re willing to do so in large part because of how highly we think of Vineland Housing Authority.”

The authority operates 600 public housing units, including high-rise facilities, apartments and residences scattered throughout the city. Those units are home to more than 2,000 people, Jones said. Its Section 8 program also has about 300 housing-choice vouchers under contract with local property owners, according to the agency’s website.

The authority also has a “continuing history” of collecting about 99 percent of its monthly rents, the website states.

Contact Thomas Barlas:

609-226-9197

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.

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