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ONLINE COVID 19 RENTAL COUNSELING (NEW JERSEY ONLY)
Renters can receive full budget and credit counseling with a credit review to make any transitions easier, landlord advocate/eviction diversion services, or relocation services if necessary. We have access to Free legal aid for NJ renters.
NJ STATE RENTAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE
Murphy Administration Announces Second Phase of Rental Assistance Program for New Jersey Residents Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic Program Devotes Approximately $353 Million to Help Low- to Moderate-Income Households, Including the Homeless
March 16, 2021
TRENTON, NJ – Recognizing that New Jersey residents continue to need rental assistance during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Murphy Administration today announced that the application period for a second phase of the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will open on March 22, 2021. The federally-funded program will provide approximately $353 million in rental assistance to low- and moderate-income households that have had a substantial reduction in income as a result of the pandemic, including those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for many New Jersey residents, but we are committed to ensuring housing security for as many people as possible during this unpreceded time,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “The Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide help with rent for low- and moderate-income households where income has been impacted by the pandemic.”
“This pandemic has created a crisis for so many of our fellow New Jerseyans who are struggling to pay their rent because they’ve lost jobs or aren’t bringing home as much money as they once did. Governor Murphy and I urge people in this situation to quickly apply to the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program Phase II,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA). “We’ve been in these difficult times for more than a year as a nation and state and we want to help as many people as possible pay their rent, including assisting with overdue rent, to promote housing stability and prevent homelessness.”
More than 15,000 households benefitted from the first phase of the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program that was launched in July 2020 in response to the pandemic. The Administration was able to help 7,000 more households than originally anticipated with the $91.75 million allocated in the program’s first phase.
Applicants for the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program Phase II (CVERAP Phase II) may be eligible for up to 12 months of rental assistance to help pay for rent arrears incurred after March 13, 2020, and future rent to the extent that funds are available. Households that already received assistance in Phase I of the program but need additional rent support and have not yet received the maximum 12 months of emergency rental assistance (including CVERAP Phase I) can apply for additional funding.
Every three months, the applicant’s household income and COVID-19 impact will be reviewed to determine if assistance is still needed and then recertified. If deemed eligible, applicants may only receive a maximum of three months of assistance at each recertification for future rent payments. Assistance that is no longer required will be used to serve additional families.
The application period will remain open until an adequate number of applications have been received to distribute the approximately $353 million allocated to the program. A notice will be published to inform the public in advance when the application period will close. Participants will be selected from the overall pool of applicants through a randomized process based on eligibility and lottery criteria.
An applicant may qualify for the assistance based on the following requirements:
• Is a New Jersey resident 18 years of age or older;
• Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic;
• Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
• Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income. Maximum income limits can be found online at https://www.nj.gov/dca/cverap2.shtml
As part of the landlord contract, DCA will encourage landlords to agree to a reasonable payment plan for any rent arrears not covered by the rental assistance and commit to not filing for eviction for non-payment of rent during the term of the assistance.
Also, property managers or owners of a residential dwelling may apply for assistance on behalf of a tenant. The landlord must:
• Obtain the signature of the tenant on the application, which may be documented electronically; and
• Must provide documentation of the application to the tenant to notify the tenant that the application has been submitted.
DCA will provide the centralized application intake, eligibility review, and payment of assistance, which will be made directly to participants’ landlords. DCA has authorized Nan McKay & Associates to help administer the program and to communicate with applicants and landlords.
CVERAP Phase II applications can be submitted online starting at 9 a.m. on March 22 with the use of a personal computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet at https://njdca.onlinepha.com.
DCA will extend reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis to disabled individuals and people who have limited English proficiency. The Department will take into consideration the disability and the needs of households without internet access. Applicants seeking accommodations may contact DCA’s Applicant Services at (609) 490-4550 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week during the open enrollment period.
Submission of a CVERAP Phase II application does not guarantee placement in the program. Only one CVERAP Phase II application per household will be accepted. Duplicate CVERAP Phase II applications will be rejected.
Additional information about the program can be found online at https://www.nj.gov/dca/cverap2.shtml on the DCA website.
The program will also help provide households that are very low income and homeless with six months of future rent. Additionally, it will assist in paying for security deposits and case management for homeless households to help them bridge to more sustainable support by the end of the six months of rental assistance. These households will be selected by DCA through the Coordinated Entry process in each county’s Homeless Management Information System.
For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media:
AVAILABLE RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
State / County / City Programs
PROGRAM NAME:New Jersey COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program
GET STARTED: https://njdca.onlinepha.com/
PROGRAM NAME:Atlantic County Emergency Rental Assitance Program
PROGRAM NAME: Bergen County Emergency Rental Assistance Program
GET STARTED: https://www.co.bergen.nj.us/erap
PROGRAM NAME:Camden County RECOVERS Rental Assistance Program
PROGRAM NAME:Essex County Emergency Rental Assistance Program
PROGRAM NAME:Gloucester County Emergency Rental Assistance
PROGRAM NAME:Hudson County CARES II Eviction Prevention
PROGRAM NAME:Jersey City COVID-19 Rent Relief Program
PROGRAM NAME:Mercer County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
PROGRAM NAME:Middlesex County COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program
PROGRAM NAME:Monmouth County Emergency Rental Assistance Program
GET STARTED: http://www.monmouthcountyerap.com
PROGRAM NAME:Mayor Baraka’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program
PROGRAM NAME:Ocean County Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program
GET STARTED: https://www.co.ocean.nj.us/OC/frmRERAP.aspx
PROGRAM NAME:Passaic County Emergency Rental Assistance Program
PROGRAM NAME:Union County Emergency Rental Relief Program
GET STARTED: http://www.uloucnj.org/rentalreliefprg.aspx
HUDSON COUNTY EVICTION PREVENTION APPLICATION
The Hudson County CARES II Eviction Prevention Program can provide back rent and/or utility assistance for households who have fallen behind as a result of COVID-19.
In order to qualify for assistance through this application, the household must meet the criteria listed below.
- Must be a Hudson County Resident with the exception of Jersey City. Jersey City residents must seek assistance through the City of Jersey City. To sign up for notifications for Jersey City rental assistance programs, please click here https://www.cognitoforms.com/CityOfJerseyCity1/rentreliefinquiryform
- Must show the need for rental or utility assistance is due to COVID-19;
- Must have been current on rent as of March 1st 2020
- Must show that one or more household member’s qualified for unemployment or have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardships due directly or indirectly to COVID-19.
- For rental assistance, must have received a summons for eviction or notice to quit from landlord
- Must provide the following documents: copy of lease or other documentation showing residence, income documentation, some form of ID, documentation showing past due utility, rent, or eviction notice
- Annual Household Income must not exceed 80% AMI, with priority given to household’s whose annual income is below 50%
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP ASSISTANCE
(609) 396-9366, ext. 16 or 609-577-9054
Arm In Arm staff will be available to intake clients remotely via phone Mondays through Thursdays from 9 am – 3:30 pm. Please call Lisa at (609) 396-9366, ext. 16 or 609-577-9054. You might be prompted to leave a message. Please provide your full name, complete address (including city), and best number for us to return your call. Staff will contact you for an eligibility pre-screening.
Am I eligible?
- Hamilton Township resident
- Market rate housing for back rent assistance
- At least one household member must have legal US status
- Current annualized household income at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) for Mercer County
- 2020 Area Median Income guideline – maximum amounts one can earn to qualify for this program
Household Size Income Limits
- Owes back rent/mortgage caused by COVID-19 (beginning no earlier than March 1, 2020)
- Current household income puts rent/mortgage under 70% of monthly net
- Applicant does not have substantial assets to pay arrears
What You Need:
- Completed Self-Certified Application ( sent via e-mail after pre-screen eligibility phone call)
- Identification for ALL adults in the household
- Proof of legal US status for at least one household member
- Current proof of income for all household sources ( e.g. pay stubs, unemployment insurance benefits, Social Security benefits, pension benefits, etc.)
- Lease for back rent assistance
- Current mortgage statement showing arrears, default or foreclosure for mortgage assistance
- Documentation of COVID-19 hardship
MIDDLESEX COUNTY RENTAL ASSISTANCE
Middlesex County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (MCERAP) will begin accepting applications for financial aid from renter households that are behind on rent and/or utility payments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Renter households in need of assistance may submit their application and required documentation via the MCERAP online application portal beginning today, Monday, May 3, 2021. More information and a link to the application portal can be found here: middlesexcountynj.gov/rentalassistance.
The MCERAP is funded by a $24.6 million grant from the federal government. Funding will be distributed on a priority basis, directly to landlords and utility companies. Assistance cannot be provided for rental and/or utility arrears prior to March 2020.
Applications for grants from the MCERAP may be submitted by a member of an eligible household or by a landlord on behalf of that eligible household. An “eligible household” is defined as a renter household in which at least one or more individuals meets the following criteria:
- Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19
- Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, mainly documented by having an outstanding rental balance and/or eviction filing (Please note: Landlords may file for eviction during the moratorium, but cases are not heard.)
- Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median* (Please note: Eligible households that include an individual who has been unemployed for the 90 days prior to application for assistance and households with income at or below 50 percent of the area median are to be prioritized for assistance.)
MERCER COUNTY RENTAL ASSISTANCE
The Mercer County Department of Human Services, in conjunction with the Mercer County Board of Social Services, has launched the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to help renter households in Mercer County that have been impacted by COVID-19. The program offers financial assistance to rental household for unpaid rent or utility bills due to the impact of COVID-19.
Mercer County residents must document that they would have qualified for unemployment benefits, experienced a reduction in income, and suffered major costs directly or indirectly due to COVID-19 that impacted the household.
TO APPLY AND FIND MORE INFORMATION:
Call: (609) 389-3575 M-F 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
LANDLORDS CAN ENCOURAGE TENANTS TO APPLY at http://www.mercercounty.org/ERAP
RENTAL ASSISTANCE IN NJ IS COMING
New Jersey Total allocation $589,011,704.40
Eligible local governments
• Atlantic County $7,868,230.90
• Bergen County $27,818,032.50
• Burlington County $13,289,751.50
• Camden County $15,113,705.80
• Essex County $15,426,829.50
• Gloucester County $8,702,770.10
• Hudson County $12,244,324.50
• Jersey City city $7,820,634.20
• Mercer County $10,964,554.50
• Middlesex County $24,620,845.60
• Monmouth County $18,465,589.40
• Morris County $14,677,248.30
• Newark city $8,415,548.50
• Ocean County $18,119,162.90
• Passaic County $14,975,093.40
• Union County $16,601,886.70
• PLUS an additional payment to the state $353,887,496.10
ATLANTIC COUNTY OFFERS RENTAL ASSISTANCE
CDBG-CV Short Term Emergency
Rental and Mortgage Assistance Grant Program
The CDBG-CV Short Term Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance Grant Program will provide temporary rental and mortgage assistance, for up to six months, to low- and moderate-income households that have had a substantial reduction in income or became unemployed due the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants may be eligible for a grant for a maximum of up to six months of emergency rental or mortgage assistance. The assistance, per month for rental assistance and mortgage assistance, will be capped at DCA’s fair market rent standard or the total of the rent or mortgage payment, whichever is lesser. The maximum amount of assistance available per rental household is $10,000 throughout a period of six months. All participants will be reviewed at the three-month interval to see if they are still in need of assistance. Persons applying must meet all applicable program income and eligibility requirements.
The program will be administered by the Atlantic County Improvement Authority under the direction of the Executive Director, John Lamey.
Current annualized household income must be at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Atlantic County for the size of the applicant household.
# of Household Members 80% of Median Income
1 Person $46,450.00
2 Persons $53,100.00
3 Persons $59,750.00
4 Persons $66,350.00
5 Persons $71,700.00
6 Persons $77,000.00
7 Persons $82,300.00
8 Persons $87,600.00
Prohibition on Duplication of Benefits
Applicants must disclose other local, state and federal rental/mortgage assistance received. These benefits will be taken into consideration when determining the amount that will be provided to the applicant for rental or mortgage assistance.
Evidence of Financial Hardship Due to COVID
Applicants will be required to document financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Rental or Mortgage Assistance Available
These funds are intended to be emergency assistance.
- Applicants without housing costs in arrears can apply for the cost of one month of housing only, starting with current month’s housing costs.
- Applicants with housing costs in arrears may apply (in one application) for assistance for multiple past months beginning March 1, 2020, as well as for the current month’s housing cost.
- If funds are available, applicants can submit a re-application for assistance in subsequent months for up to six months.
To apply go to: https://www.acianj.org/applications/application.asp?ty=R#start
HAVE YOU MISSED OR GOING TO MISS A PAYMENT?
Use Security Deposit to Pay your Rent
Governor Murphy signed Executive Order # 128 which allows renters to direct that their Landlords apply the security deposit the renters own to any past due and current rent obligations as a result of the “Stay at Home” order. This communications has to be made in writing (including email). We have recommended language below.
Yes you CAN direct your landlord to use your Security Deposit to pay your rent
This is NOT free money. The tenant will be required to replenish or reestablish (pay back) the security deposit if the lease is extended, or 6 months after the emergency order is lifted.
Further, this order does not relieve the tenant from paying for any money that the landlord would recoup from the rental deposit at the end of the lease for damages beyond the normal “wear and tear”.
However, it will stop the late fees that the landlord is charging you when you can’t work and are waiting for unemployment.
Suggested wording of a request to use the security deposit to pay your rent:
NJ governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order # 128 on April 24, 2020 allowing for the following request. I hereby request that the security deposit you are holding on my behalf which is governed by the provisions of N.J.S.A. 46:8-19 et seq., as well as the interest portion of the interest and/or earnings accumulated thereon, be applied to or credited towards rent payments due or to become due from the tenant during the Public Health Emergency established in Executive Order No. 103 (2020) or up to 60 days after the Public Health Emergency terminates.
In other words, the security deposit you are holding for me should be used to pay my past due, current and any future rent until it is exhausted.
I understand that I will be required to pay back the security deposit in full in six months following the end of the Emergency or when I renew the lease.
Please send me an accounting of the amount of funds in my rental deposit account including accrued interest, and how you are applying it to my rent.
We do NOT offer rental payment assistance, HOWEVER:
We are working with the National Low Income Housing Coalition to advocate for Rent Assistance.
We suspect like most tenants that you are already paying $1,500 per month. Then you get laid off, like scores of other workers right now. OK you’re protected from eviction for the next six months, or as long as this pandemic continues.
But then what? Will you be forced to pay $9,000 in back rent? (For context, 6 in 10 Americans don’t even have $500 in savings.)
Under almost all the proposals being discussed, tenants will still be responsible for all the rent they cannot pay during the crisis—they’ll have massive rent debt. This will ultimately just delay huge numbers of evictions until a few months after the state of emergency is officially declared to be over .
We are advocating for Rental Assistance for all those affected by the COVID 19 Pandemic
RENTER ACTION PLAN
All COVID 19 Renters should do the following immediately:
- Call your Landlord – Tell them that you will not able to pay
- Call all of your Creditors – Each may offer suspension of payment
- Call all of your utility Providers – Each may offer suspension of payment
Prepare for Rental Counseling:
- Complete Intake Form – download below
- Complete Budget Form – Download Below
- Complete Third Party Authorization (if necessary)
Prepare for the possibility of having to relocate:
- Improve Credit – Follow individualized Credit Action Plan from CCBC (This is a FREE Service for NJ Renters)
- Relocation Assistance available.
Prepare for the possibility of having to make up the missed rent
- Save funds from Stimulus check
- Save funds from Enhanced (+$300) Unemployment Check
- Landlord Diversion/Eviction is available
Prepare for the possibility of Getting Rental Assistance
- Check www.cc-bc.com for latest updates
- Listen to the local news for updates
Consumer Credit and Budget Counseling will:
- CCBC will keep you updated on options and assistance available
- CCBC will provide FICO credit scores
- CCBC will provide a personalized Action Plan advising you of the steps to take to improve your credit
- CCBC will analyze your budget
- CCBC will assist you with a letter to your landlord
- CCBC will provide Landlord Diversion/Eviction (if necessary)
- CCBC will provide relocation assistance (if necessary)
Get Help Today – NJ only
There are two way to get prepared and get AHEAD of this pandemic and receive FREE counseling from Consumer Credit and Budget Counseling:
- Use the online intake form below. It will take you about 20 minutes to complete, the form is SAFE AND ENCRYPTED.
- Download and print the PDF’s forms below, then email them back to email@example.com, or fax to: 888-738-8233.
Within 72 hours you will receive:
- Your Credit Score
- A Personalized Action Plan to improve your score
- A Budget Analysis comparing your budget guidelines.
- You will be put on our COVID 19 update email list to get notified when monetary rental assistance is available.
- Eligible for Landlord/Eviction diversion
- Eligible for Relocation Assistance
INTAKE FORMS & TENANTS RIGHTS
Complete both forms below for FREE rental counseling including Credit Score Review and Action Plan to improve your credit . you can also go here for the online application
Fax to 888-738-8234 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
RENTAL COUNSELING SERVICES
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