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Develop Housing Toolkit & Implement Prioritized Investment Framework

 What is an Initiative?


An Initiative is a coordinated effort designed to achieve a Goal. Initiatives contain Actions that, when executed together, will help the City achieve one or more of its Goals.

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The City does not currently have all the necessary tools it needs to capitalize on neighborhood strengths and address the variety of problems different neighborhoods face. As such, the City must develop a “housing toolkit”: foundational housing programs that the City needs to develop to work at the neighborhood level effectively. The actions at the end of this initiative make up that toolkit.

Prioritized Investment Framework

Not all of the tools in the toolkit are appropriate in every neighborhood: Trenton’s neighborhoods are varied and unique, as are the problems they face. Moreover, the City does not have the resources to develop all of these tools quickly and to implement them city-wide. Instead, a prioritized approach to building stronger neighborhoods is likely to have better success.
Using the neighborhood conditions study Laying the Foundations for Strong Neighborhoods as a guide, this City has classified four types of neighborhoods throughout the City and identified initiatives for addressing their unique needs. The neighborhood initiatives include:
  • Stabilize Neighborhoods with the Highest Concentration of Vacancy and Abandonment;

  • Reinforce Neighborhoods with the Highest Values and Concentration of Home-Ownership;

  • Strengthen Neighborhoods at the Risk of Decline; and

  • Prioritize Investment in Neighborhoods with Catalytic Potential.

For more details on which neighborhoods are covered by each of the following type, see the Priority Investment Framework.
The goal in the Stabilize, Reinforce, and Strengthen neighborhoods is to support residents and stakeholders without investing heavily to try and “bend” the market in the short- to medium-term. This means that in the short-term these neighborhoods are not ideal locations for heavily subsidized housing projects or heavy investments in infrastructure or housing programs.
In the Priority Investment Neighborhoods, however, the City should be investing aggressively to revitalize these areas. These neighborhoods are unique because of their building assets, location, existing amenities, and/or the existence of successful revitalization efforts. Moreover, these areas have the market conditions to change relatively quickly or are likely to have a significant impact on the overall housing market if they become successful. As such, initiatives focused on these areas are intended to attract new development, often with the aid of subsidies.
Furthermore, these Priority Investment Neighborhoods should be the focus of other non-housing related actions (such as economic development and circulation investments) that seek to make them more attractive to private investment. By combining multiple investments from local, county, and state funding sources, the City has the potential to make these neighborhoods unique assets in the City and to build off of their success to produce momentum and long-term city-wide change.
However, this strategy is not a gentrification strategy. New development in these areas should fit the needs and affordability of a variety of households, including students, seniors, modest wage-earners and their families, as well as professionals. A variety of market-rate housing types should be considered, including detached homes, townhomes, co-ops/condos, apartments, micro units, and modular units that provide varying levels of density that can be appropriate for a multitude of sites. The City should work closely with residents and stakeholders to meet all of the housing goals in the Priority Investment Neighborhoods.
In the short-term, this strategy will allow the City to invest its limited resources in neighborhoods where it is likely to have the greatest impact. By concentrating efforts in smaller geographies, it also gives the City an opportunity to pilot many of these programs before they are implemented city-wide. This will reduce both upfront costs and full-scale deployment costs.
A Framework
These neighborhood typologies provide a policy framework for the City of Trenton, giving broad guidance for how the City should approach allocating its limited resources. However, the specific courses of action for implementing these initiatives in each neighborhood will depend on their particular market conditions and individual character of each. This will require additional work beyond the Master Plan to tailor the implementation to the place. Thus, these initiatives should be considered a starting point for a larger implementation effort that should continue to engage residents, stakeholders, and property owners.