New Steps in the Revitalization of a Neighborhood

La Casa de Don Pedro was established in 1972 to serve the marginalized Puerto Rican and Latino community in Newark, New Jersey. Named in honor of the Puerto Rican nationalist Don Pedro Albizu Campos, who advocated the twin virtues of self-sufficiency and empowerment, the nonprofit provides critically needed education, health, employment, and affordable housing services to more than 50,000 people in Greater Newark and Essex County.

La Casa’s primary service area is Newark’s North End, where the organization has been undertaking a comprehensive community development initiative in the Lower Broadway community, a largely Hispanic and African-American neighborhood with a poverty rate of more than 32 percent.

With two construction loans from Leviticus totaling $236,484, La Casa is continuing to move forward with its plan to revitalize the Lower Broadway. The organization will use the financing to build two new homes on lots that have been vacant for more than 15 years.

It is an innovative and impactful project. Each new home will include two units, a three-bedroom unit for the owner and a separate two-bedroom unit that the owner can rent to another family. The project thus will provide affordable housing and generate income for the homeowners, while also providing much-needed affordable housing for the community.

The new homes will be sold to buyers earning at or below 80 percent of area median income. La Casa will require each buyer to participate in its eight-hour, HUD-approved First Time Home Buyer workshop. In addition, La Casa will work with the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s Housing Affordability Service to screen prospective tenants.

Leviticus provided similar financing back in 2012 for La Casa’s affiliate, Don Pedro Development Corp., to develop five, two-family for-sale affordable homes as part of the Lower Broadway Neighborhood initiative.

To date, La Casa has developed 166 units of affordable housing for home owners throughout its service area, and we are pleased to continue to advance its efforts to revitalize the Lower Broadway area.