State Housing Assistance Programs
Start with the DCAid Screening Tool
DCAid offers a quick and simple process that allows people to find out if they are eligible for housing assistance programs, utility assistance, homelessness prevention services, and other programs that will help to improve their quality of life.
The eligibility screening tool includes a series of questions that take approximately 1-2 minutes to complete. With it, you can find out if you are eligible for services provided by the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA) like assistance with rent, including the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program and the State Rental Assistance Program; heating costs; utility bills; removal of lead hazards in the home; Veterans Affair Supportive Housing (VASH); weatherization assistance; and homelessness prevention programs. The results, based on general income and household information entered, will provide you with a brief description of appropriate programs and contact information for the agency where you can apply for help.
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program
This federally-funded program was created to assist low-income households to find safe and quality rental housing. Through this program, a portion of the monthly rent is paid by the government directly to the landlord, thus reducing housing costs for eligible families.
This program only accepts applicants during Open Enrollment periods. The waiting list placement will be based on a computerized selection (lottery) process so it does not matter when you apply AS LONG AS YOU APPLY DURING THE ENROLLMENT PERIOD.
Section 8 existing housing programs are administered throughout the state by a number of municipal and county authorities. For further information contact your county field office, email or call the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA) at 609.292.4080. Learn more
Section 8 Homeownership Program
This federally-funded program is administered by the state and is designed to assist eligible households purchase a home of their own. This is achieved by applying the Housing Choice Voucher towards homeownership expenses such as principal and interest on mortgage debt, insurance, taxes and utilities rather than using it towards rental payments. For additional information, call (609) 292-4080.
The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program is a voluntary five-year program available to families currently active in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. The program offers case management and a financial incentive to maintain employment. Families receiving Section 8 enroll in the FSS program by signing a Contract of Participation. That contract includes short-term and long-term goals created by the head-of-household. To encourage continuous employment, as the client's income increases and his/her portion of the rent increases, the Housing Authority will match the increased amount and deposit it into savings account monthly. The program requires the head-of-household to maintain employment, be free of TANF and General Assistance and to complete all personal goals within five years. The FSS participant will receive annual case management from his/her Section 8 caseworker and be referred to needed services such as job training, career counseling, education and social service programs. For additional information, call (609) 292-4080.
Homeless Prevention Program
This program provides limited financial assistance to low and moderate-income tenants and homeowners in imminent danger of eviction or foreclosure due to temporary financial problems beyond their control. To learn more, contact the office in your area. Find a listing of local contacts here.
Mortgage Assistance Provided by the HMFA
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) has many housing programs funded from the sale of bonds. Some provide mortgage assistance and closing costs to homebuyers. Others help homeowners repair the houses they have. Low- and moderate-income households qualify for HMFA-funded developments.
For more information on HMFA’s homebuyer or rehabilitation programs call (609) 278-7400. Those looking to buy a house or condominium should consider calling HMFA to see the availability of homebuyer assistance programs. The agency has a mortgage hotline: 1-800-NJ-HOUSE, or 1-800-654-6873. Learn more about HMFA programs.
Habitat for Humanity
The goal of Habitat for Humanity is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness by working in partnership with people in need. Using volunteer labor and donated funds and materials, Habitat builds or rehabilitates simple, decent houses and sells them to low-income families at cost, but with no interest added.
This people-to-people partnership begins with the homeowner families (partner families). Habitat is a joint venture in which those who benefit from the housing ministry are involved in the work at various levels. They help with the construction of their own home, as well as the houses of their neighbors.
The need for a decent and affordable house is the most important criteria in the selection of a family. Families with the greatest need are given priority consideration.
Families must have the ability to make mortgage payments and meet all the obligations of owning a home including payment of any condominium/association fees, homeowner insurance, all taxes, utilities, and repairs. Applicants must allow a verification of employment for the last two years, at least six months of employment in the present position, credit history including a judgment search and reference checks. An applicant's history of financial responsibility is considered.
Applicants must agree to partner with Habitat in the homeowner process which includes: interview by the Family Selection Committee, approval by the Board of Directors, all paperwork requested by the Family Selection Committee during the review process, making escrow payments while building their home to cover the closing costs, completing 400 hours of sweat equity (the families participate in building their homes alongside volunteers/professionals), participating in homeowner training programs, and other ways of supporting and partnering with Habitat that may arise.
To learn more, contact your local Habitat for Humanity office.
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