TRENTON, NJ — New Jersey has introduced a temporary rental assistance program that will provide at least $100 million to low- and moderate-income households affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 Short-Term Rental Assistance Program was outlined by Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver during the state's daily press briefing on May 29. “We know that many of our residents are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, due to the loss of their jobs or reduced hours,” she said. “As a result, many of these individuals who have never had to ask for financial help before, but they're finding themselves in a situation where they aren't able to make rent on the first of the month.”
To be funded primarily through the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the program's focus will be on providing help to renters who are unemployed and can demonstrate their unemployment is related to the public health emergency.
While the current stay on evictions remains in place, this program also will provide up to 12 months of rental assistance to those experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless. Households designated as very low income will come next in line, with a percentage of monies designated for them.
“The remainder of the participants will be selected through an online lottery system that will open up in July, and it will provide those individuals with up to six months of rental assistance, Oliver said. “The lottery will provide a preference to households that earn less than 80 percent of the area median income within their county.”
Information concerning the COVID-19 Short-Term Rental Assistance will become available on June 15. On that date, the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) plans to launch a separate website that will also include details about applying for rental assistance that will be available by clicking here.
Households may qualify for the lottery based on the below standards:
- Must be a New Jersey resident.
- Maximum income up to 80 percent of area median income (AMI).
- Must have been current in their rental payments as of March 1, 2020.
- Must be able to provide proof of impact of COVID-19 beginning on March 9, 2020 when Gov. Murphy declared the state of emergency.
- Reduced work hours.
- Unpaid leave to take care of children due to school and daycare closures.
- Need to self-quarantine for 14 days resulted in a loss of income.