WARETOWN, NJ – Cornerstone is quickly becoming a household name in the Southern Ocean County area. In fact, it may take on a literal meaning for some lucky lottery residents in the near future.

A ride down Route 9 in Ocean Township shows the new development nearing completion. Within the next couple of months, the new quarters will serve as home to a number of people who qualify for affordable housing. Income restrictions apply to those seeking one, two, or three-bedroom apartments that are not age-restricted.

Ocean Township Mayor Ken Baulderstone sees the new complex as offering much more than helping meet the Township’s affordable housing quota.

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“The Walters Group built the project and shared a goal with us concerning their tenants, “Baulderstone said. “They hope the lower rent will enable people to get a head start to eventually move out.”

On its own, that might seem perplexing.  However, Carrie Adragna works as the property manager for the Walters Group and explained further.  The company takes pride in the success stories of tenants who have been able to save money because of low rent and purchase homes of their own.

In the meantime, the Walters Group also seeks to offer tenants assistance of another kind. “If we see a child who wants to play a sport and can’t afford the associated costs,” said Adragna. “Our company will help with the expenses."

In keeping with its commitment to build affordable housing, the Walters Group has built a number of communities in the area. Both Laurel Oaks and Cornerstone at Waretown are available for qualifying families of all ages. Other properties. such as Cornerstone at Barnegat,  are age-restricted.

“We have one community that pays market value rents,” Adragna shared. “Stafford Preserve Apartments is in Manahawkin.”

The demand for affordable housing is so great that Cornerstone set up a lottery system as the first means of selecting renters. The close date for the lottery is February 6, 2020. A computer-generated program will select winners on February 13, 2020. So far, over 210 people have signed up with the hopes of securing an apartment in a brand new building.

“Picking names is just the first step,” explained Adragna. “We then move on to a criminal background check and also look into credit.”

According to Adragna, the state sets income guidelines and rental fees when it comes to affordable housing. Although rents aren’t established yet, it is anticipated that tenants will be able to move into the first building by March 15, 2020.