Evans-Francis Estates is a 54-unit multifamily development being built in Cherry Hill, New Jersey that will provide individuals and families earning 20 to 60 percent of the median income with a safe, decent place to call home. Being developed in an affluent New Jersey suburb, Evans-Francis Estates and Fair Share Housing Development are fulfilling a much-needed piece to the affordable housing puzzle not only for the state, but also the close neighboring Philadelphia metro-area.
As Peter J. O’Connor, Executive Director at Fair Share Housing, knows all too well, Evans-Francis Estates was not an easy feat. Beginning with a long litigation case filed by O’Connor representing the Fair Share Housing Center that started in 1985, the project planning went underway in 1997. After 21 additional years of appeals, lapsed approvals and re-approvals, negotiations, reviews and conditions, amended tax credit applications, letters of support, and a special discretionary provision pushed by the Fair Share Housing Center, New Jersey NAACP and the New Jersey Latino Network, O’Connor finally received the call he had been waiting for on November 20, 2018 from Sheila Oliver, New Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor and Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.
“Thirty-three years in the making, and Evans-Francis Estates is finally under construction,” said Neala Martin, SVP – Acquisitions. “Peter O’Connor and his team at Fair Share Housing have shown a great deal of strength and endurance moving this project forward during that time.”
Of course, it would not be the continued story for Evans-Francis Estates, if the project had not closed in the middle of a global pandemic.
In addition to serving low-income families and individuals, Evans-Francis Estates also has five units reserved for homeless residents. Fair Share Housing will provide social services, including an after‐school tutoring and homework club, wellness programs (e.g. yoga, meditation, Zumba classes), and higher education support and life skills counseling, such as: college preparation classes, parenting workshops, and programs supporting financial and digital literacy.
The development is being built by contractor, The Walters Group, and designed by KDA Architects with a LEED Gold Certification goal. It’s location within a highly-ranked school system and abundance of jobs makes it desirable beyond its affordability.
In addition to financial support through CREA’s Corporate Tax Credit Fund 80, Evans-Francis estates is financed with a $9.0 MM construction loan from Citizens Bank and a $625k perm loan from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. It also benefits from $1.75 MM in total proceeds from Cherry Hill Township from Affordable Housing Trust Funds and for affordability assistance for special needs residents, as well as a $1.1 MM Affordable Housing Program (AHP) award through Federal Home Loan Bank New York.
“We thank Fair Share Housing, The Walters Group, and countless others for their continued dedication and commitment to Evans-Frances Estates and affordable housing,” said Martin.
In an email to supporters from O’Connor in January of 2019, he wrote, “On behalf of Fair Share Housing Development, Inc., I want to thank everyone who has supported the development of the Evans-Francis Estates project. This has been a long struggle, but we have prevailed.”