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Posted Saturday, May 30th, 2020

Program Will Provide $100 Million for Low- to Moderate-Income Households

Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver have announced the COVID-19 Short-Term Rental Assistance Program, to provide rental assistance to low- and moderate-income households that have had a substantial reduction in income due to the pandemic, including those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The program will open for applications in July and begin paying rental assistance in September.COVID-19: Short-Term Rent Assistance Offered for Low-Income Families Struggling Due to Pandemic.

Qualifying households will pay 30 percent of income toward rent, and the program would pay the remainder to the state’s fair market rent payment standard. At the three-month mark, the household budget will be reviewed to determine if assistance is still needed.

“New Jerseyans should not fear losing their home as a result of financial hardship caused by COVID-19,” said Governor Murphy. “This program will provide at least $100 million in housing relief for low- and moderate-income families who need it most.”

In addition to the new program, DCA is urging households in need to apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps pay for home energy bills.

The short-term rental assistance program will devote 20 percent of funds to very low income persons with up to 12 months of rental assistance. These households will be selected by DCA through  each county’s Homeless Management Information System. Case management, financial planning, and other assistance will be provided by the program.

For the remainder of the funding, DCA will administer an online lottery.

When the lottery is opened, households may submit applications and participants will be selected through a randomized process based on eligibility and lottery criteria. Applicants selected through the lottery will be eligible to receive up to six months of short-term rental assistance.

Households may qualify for the lottery based on the below standards:
Eligibility Requirements

  • 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, when Gov. Murphy declared the state of emergency.
  • Layoff;
  • 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

The COVID-19 Short Term Rental Assistance Program website will launch on June 15. Click here for additional information.

DCA will provide the centralized application intake, eligibility review, and payment directly to participants’ landlords.

As part of the landlord contract, DCA will encourage landlords to agree to a reasonable payment plan for any rent arrearages, not to evict for any arrearages accumulated prior to the start of temporary rental assistance, and not to evict due to unpaid rent for six months after the end of assistance.