COVID-19 Housing Assistance
County and City Rental Assistance Programs May Help
Hunterdon County - Family Promise of Hunterdon County is offering assistance to residents who are currently in rental arrears due to loss of income as the result of Covid-19. No warrant or summon of removal is required. Eligible households can qualify for payment of up to three months of arrears. Call 908.782.2490. Learn more about their other rental assistance programs here.
Jersey City COVID-19 Hardship Assistance Program - This program provides one-time emergency assistance of up to $1,500 for low to moderate income Jersey City households who can demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19. Applications will be accepted from January 18 to February 2. Learn more about this program.
New Brunswick Residents in Middlesex County - The City of New Brunswick has allocated federal grant dollars to assist tenants in paying their back rent. The grant allows for the payment of up to three (3) months of owed rent for qualified New Brunswick households. Tenants must apply for assistance, but payment will be given directly to landlords. The second round of applications is being accepted from January 12 - January 19. Learn more here.
Passaic County - Temporary homeowners and renters emergency assistance is being offered to eligible Passaic County residents. Details here.
Somerset County - The Social Services for the Homeless (SSH) Grant through the Ocean County Board of Social Services may be able to assist county residents with back rent, back-mortgage, back utilities, Security deposit, first month rent and temporary shelter (on a short-term basis). SSH can be utilized for individuals, families and adult couples. The agency has a separate Emergency Assistance program for clients receiving GA/TANF/SSI but this is a non-public assistance grant. Therefore, all persons over the age of 18 in the household must have a source of income (not GA/TANF/SSI) and have future affordability. Examples of income include wages, unemployment, Child Support and SSD. The client will also need to have a verifiable emergency as to the reason they are behind and need assistance. Rental must be within Fair Market rent (Rent + Utility Averages) 1 Bedroom - $1,270 / 2 Bedroom - $1,639 / 3 Bedroom - $2,251.
Funding is limited and on a first come, first serve basis. Clients can call 732-349-1500 and request to speak to someone in Special Response to complete a screening.
Learn about other homelessness prevention programs across New Jersey by searching our resource database.
Tenants Know your Rights
There is an eviction moratorium until March 21, 2021 which prevents renters from being locked out of their home until after that time. While the Governor has the power to shorten or extend this protective measure, during the time that it is in effect, renters have rights. The Community Health Law Project, offers a simple summary of what you can expect.
Landlord/Tenant Virtual Informational Conferences - Counties across our state are organizing informational meetings to educate tenants and landlords about their rights during the pandemic. As we receive details about these events, we will post them here.
Free Counseling Available to Homeowners and Renters
Governor Murphy and HMFA announced an expansion in the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s Housing Counseling Initiative during the pandemic. Now free assistance is available from housing counselors to help homeowners going through foreclosure, which includes pre-foreclosure and rental assistance counseling. Even families that are receiving some sort of relief are expressing concern at their ability to make back payments on rent, mortgages, property taxes, etc. A housing counselor can help you understand what sort of relief is available for your situation and build an action plan to get you to the other side of this crisis with your best possible outcomes.
Seek help through this program by calling 1-800-NJ-HOUSE. They have partnered with multiple agencies in each county and are paying for the cost of the counseling session, so you don’t have to.
Help for Homeowners - Counselors will provide an analysis of the client’s financial situation; evaluation of the current value of the home that is subject to the mortgage; review of options such as lender in-house modifications that may include restructuring or refinancing strategies; and the approval of an action plan by all interested parties. In the case of foreclosure prevention, whether or not the homeowner is in foreclosure, the goal is to assist the homeowners in retaining their homes with an affordable mortgage, however this result cannot be guaranteed in all situations and some instances may require assisting with a soft transition.
Help for Renters - Counselors will provide an analysis of the client’s financial situation, and guide tenants through budget and credit repair, assist with fair housing issues, eviction diversion and transition, if necessary. Renters can also review the list of NJHMFA Properties Affected by Rent Increase Suspension to see if their property is affected by the recent rent increase freeze.
COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program - SUSPENDED
Special Announcement (received on October 14, 2020): DHS is suspending applications for the new COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program as it reviews the substantial amount of applications received in the past few days. The program described below is not open at this time.
Guidelines for the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program, should it become available in the future are as follows:
New Jersey residents can apply for up to $25,000 to help pay housing costs if they have been unable, or will be unable, to make payments due to the ongoing pandemic.
To be eligible for the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program, you must:
- Be a New Jersey resident;
- Prove that you could not pay rent/mortgage due to the COVID-19; and
- Earn less than 450 percent of the federal poverty level.
Applications will be processed until funding is exhausted or no later than December 18, 2020, whichever happens sooner. See maximum income eligibility limits and apply here.