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Praise for Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credits

 

As all practitioners know, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to community development; every neighborhood has its own unique opportunities and challenges. By engaging in neighborhood planning, community development organizations work with residents and local stakeholders to craft comprehensive, long-term solutions for improving physical, social and economic conditions in low income communities. However, these solutions are not easy to fit within the rigid guidelines of most grant applications. In New Jersey, we have a tool on our side – the Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) program is specially designed to fund these activities.

Participating businesses can choose to fund up to $985,000 to nonprofits to implement neighborhood plans, in municipalities all over the state. The funding is flexible; for each award, 60% or more of funds must go towards physical development or economic development, and up to 40% can fund supportive services or other programming in support of implementing the neighborhood plan. Proposals from 2017 contain a vibrant mix of activities such as beautification activities, affordable housing, job training, crime prevention, education activities, youth programming and arts and culture.

And the results have been very successful across the state! In 2012, NJCC and the Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey partnered to release a report Transforming New Jersey Communities through Planning, Investment and Community Engagement on the tremendous impact NRTC has had in its first 10 years: for every $1 raised of NRTC funds, nonprofits have been able to leverage $6.18 in additional public, foundation and private funding. Between 2002 – 2012, NRTC has contributed to over 500,000 square feet of commercial space, over 1,000 units, over 250 homeownership units, and over 800 jobs.

2017 marks the 15th year of NRTC; additional research should show the continued impact the program has had, as well as the potential that greater funding could have as other communities around the state begin to undertake neighborhood planning. NJCC’s East Trenton Collaborative received a 2016 NRTC Award earlier this year– stay tuned for future blog posts about our activities!