TRENTON, NJ –  New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson today announced eligible New Jersey residents can now get help to pay back or current housing costs if they have been unable to make payments due to the ongoing pandemic.  Applications for the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program are now open and assistance is applicable for unpaid rent or mortgage costs from March through December 2020.

The new $12 million program will provide rental or mortgage assistance payments on behalf of eligible households that have suffered a financial hardship due to COVID-19 and aren’t eligible for or have not received other housing assistance for the same time period.  Funding is provided through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Examples of financial hardships include loss of income, reduced hours at work, being unable to work due to being high-risk or having to quarantine or isolate, and being unable to work due to a child’s remote learning.

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“Home has become even more important to us all as we work together to keep our families safe and combat this pandemic.  Yet the stability of home is threatened for far too many New Jersey families who are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage in the face of COVID-related job loss, sickness or other financial hardship,” Commissioner Johnson said. “With our new COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program, we are aiming to help hard-hit families catch up on their rent or mortgage payments to help folks stay in their homes.”

Eligible households must earn less than 450 percent of the federal poverty level, or $57,420 for single individuals, $117,900 for a family of four and $158,220 for a family of six. Households can visit nj.gov/humanservices/covid19housingassistance/ to check their eligibility under the federal poverty guidelines and submit an application.

Under the new program, eligible households can receive assistance for back and upcoming rent or mortgage from March through December by submitting an online application on the website.

Applications for the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program will be processed until funding is exhausted or no later than December 18, whichever happens sooner.

Households that apply will need to submit documentation to show that they meet the income requirement and were unable to pay their rent or mortgage due to COVID-19. Documentation may include two recent pay stubs, an employer letter, proof of receiving unemployment insurance benefits or bank statements. Applicants will also need proof of a current lease or rental agreement or mortgage information, and a letter from their landlord documenting their pay history and status.

Under the program, payments will be issued directly to the landlord or mortgage company for eligible costs.