Affordable Housing with a Preference to Veterans

Kristina Pritchett
Staff Writer, South Jersey Times

CLAYTON — A Gloucester County realty and development company is one step closer to building an affordable housing complex in the borough where specific rentals will be set aside just for disabled veterans. 

During the borough council’s regular meeting on Thursday night, the board approved for Conifer Realty, LLC, who built White Oak at Mantua along Main Street, to move forward with their plans for an affordable housing complex.

“There will be 76 units,” said Sam Leone, vice president of development for Conifer. “One is set aside for an on-site superintendent, and 19 are set aside for disabled veterans.”

Leone adds the rest of the units will be available with a preference for veterans. 

The project is estimated to cost $20 million, but the majority of money will come from a tax credit, which the company will have to apply for.

“It’s a self-funded project,” Leone said. “The local taxpayers don’t pay anything.”

James Maley, the borough’s redevelopment attorney, said the company is aiming to have the construction completed by the end of 2016, which is a quick project.

“It will be about a 12-month construction schedule,” Leone said. “We’re pretty confident about that timeline.”

The complex will feature a computer lab and a community room as well as an office for People for People, a private, nonprofit foundation that helps individuals and families who fall on hard times. 

“[People for People] do a lot for the veteran community,” Leone said. “They will provide daily services and support to the veterans living there.”

The next stage for the real estate company is to go before the planning board, Leone said.

Although the planning is in the beginning stages, Clayton Mayor Tom Bianco is excited for the project.

“We will do whatever we have to do to help our veterans,” Bianco said. “It’s a good project and it’s nice that someone wants to invest so much to disabled veterans.”

Leone said they are excited to build the complex in a community that has been supportive. 

Conifer currently has other communities with rentals for disabled veterans, but Leone said this is the first time they will have 19 units.

The complex is aiming to be built off Delsea Drive behind Clayton Mews.