The Reformed Church of Highland Park Affordable Housing Corporation (RCHP-AHC) provides affordable housing, supportive services, and connection to meaningful community to low-income individuals and families in central New Jersey.
Programs & People
RCHP-AHC owns 22 properties in seven different municipalities in central NJ that house diverse low-income tenants, including veterans, women aging out of foster care, developmentally disabled adults, homeless youth, chronically homeless individuals, and others with significant life challenges. We also rent an additional 30 units and serve as a temporary intermediary for families – including refugees and asylum seekers – who would otherwise be unable to secure an apartment rental due to poor (or no) credit history, temporary unemployment, or other factors.
In addition to special needs housing, RCHP-AHC oversees three programs that serve refugees, asylum seekers, and foreign national victims of trafficking:
Interfaith-RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Support & Empowerment) is a US State Department refugee resettlement program that works with the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants to receive and place refugees from around the world into caring communities in central NJ. Interfaith-RISE is supported by a coalition of over 50 partners from Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and other faith and community groups.
Accompany Now! provides case management and home visits that support unaccompanied minors – children who have crossed the southern US border without a parent or who have been separated from a parent – who are placed with families in NJ.
Still Waters provides supportive services and case management for people who have been subjected to human trafficking. Survivors of labor trafficking or sex trafficking need multiple forms of assistance including securing basic needs, as well as health, economic, and legal assistance.
In the summer of 2005, the Reformed Church of Highland Park began supporting a church family to become foster parents. Through learning about the foster care system and the hardships faced when youth “age out” of the system at 18 years of age without having secured a permanent home, Seth and Stephanie Kaper-Dale, co-pastors of the Reformed Church of Highland Park, and their congregation began to dream about what supporting these youth might look like.
In May 2006, the church formed a 501c3 non-profit corporation – The Reformed Church of Highland Park Affordable Housing Corporation – to begin construction on Irayna Court, a 7-unit apartment suite for women aging out of foster care, located on the roof of the church building. Irayna Court opened in February 2008, and in the years since this first project, RCHP-AHC has developed affordable housing units in Newark, Bridgewater, Plainfield, Edison, Highland Park, New Brunswick, Somerset, Keyport, Iselin, South River, and Princeton.
These projects serve individuals and families who are diverse in every way, and who benefit from our Housing First model – we believe that people need safe, affordable housing in order to work on other areas of their lives. Without housing, it is difficult to find and keep a job, help your kids succeed in school, get medical care and/or be treatment compliant, enroll in educational or training programs, pursue family reunification, seek or sustain substance abuse treatment, and many others. Decent, affordable housing enables people and families to grow and thrive.
The Community’s Role in Ending Homelessness
RCHP-AHC believes faith communities are uniquely positioned to provide affordable housing and intentional, compassionate community support for our neighbors in New Jersey who need it most. Partners at the municipal, county, state and federal levels have come to share this belief. With significant volunteer contributions from faith communities and the energy that comes from cohesive local effort, we provide quality projects in a fiscally responsible, cost-efficient manner. RCHP-AHC seeks vouchers to help underwrite the cost of rent, so that it might be affordable to very low-income New Jerseyans, and we have found other creative ways to charge low rent for non-vouchered tenants. Faith communities act as conduits connecting us to networks of potential support services that exist in various communities where we have housing, and we intentionally connect tenants to these networks.