Queen Latifah is holding down her hometown of Newark, New Jersey. The Hollywood icon has broke ground on land to build affordable housing for Newark residents.
The development is early, and Queen Latifah reflects on the current scenes. “I’m a little bit emotional that we got walls up, we got windows,” Latifah said to NorthJersey.com.
Latifah led the groundbreaking event as a co-president of BlueSugar Corp. and Life Assets Development, and GonSosa Development. Latifah began investing in properties in 2006, leading to the announcement of a development project in 2016. Through the process, Queen Latifah could sidestep obstacles and begin to build.
“It took a while, but we stayed with it and it changed and it morphed, and we stayed with what we needed to do, and the timing is right right now for this place to rise,” Latifah said.
The project is titled RISE Living. RISE is an acronym for “Rita is Still Everything,” a nod to her mother, a former schoolteacher in Newark.
“I grew up around here playing in West Side Park, a block away,” Latifah reminisced. “My grandfather’s hardware store was blocks from here. I drove past this block. I saw what was needed on this block, houses that weren’t lived in. Some were really dilapidated, and so I thought, ‘Why not here?'”
NJ.com notes Newark’s immense need for new housing, citing that 60% of Newark renters are cost-burdened. An affordable rental unit in Newark is targeted at $763 a month.