Cherry Hill Mayor Susan Shin Angulo said she is hopeful that the area is beginning to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. But she said she knows there are a few things a vaccine can’t change, including back money owed on rent and mortgages.
That’s why Angulo and the township council announced this week a new Rental & Mortgage Assistance Program that will provide financial help to qualifying residents who have struggled to pay their rent or mortgages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The town will use $601,000 of the money it received from the CARES Act to fund the program. The application period will begin May 15.
“As vaccination rates increase and we emerge from the pandemic, we must not forget that many of our residents are still facing financial distress due to the pandemic and struggling to catch up on crucial expenses like housing,” Angulo said. “This new program will go a long way to ensure these residents will be able to pay their rent or mortgage bills and ultimately give them peace of mind that they and their families will continue to have a safe, secure place to live.”
The program is available to township renters and homeowners who have seen a substantial reduction in income due to the pandemic and also qualify as low- or moderate-income, defined as households at or below 80% of the Area Median Income.
Approved applicants will be eligible for up to three months of assistance, either for current payments or past-due payments dating back to March 1, 2020. Program applications will be reviewed by the township in coordination with Triad Associates, a New Jersey grant consultant agency that can also provide technical assistance to residents in completing the grant application.
Residents must be able to document the loss or reduction of their income, demonstrate that the COVID pandemic has impacted their annual income and provide statements that their rent or mortgage payments are in arrears. This may include past-due notices, emails from the landlord (and/or agent), rent ledger from the landlord or other applicable documents as available. Full documentation requirements will be posted on the township’s website.
All Rental & Mortgage Assistance checks will be paid directly to landlord (and/or agent), named leaseholder or to the lender/mortgage company.
Council President David Fleisher highlighted that the Rental & Mortgage Assistance Program also will provide a benefit the township as a whole by supporting its overall economic health.
“This program helps residents in need, as well as providing greater financial stability for our local economy,” Fleisher said. “Council is proud to support this win-win initiative for our community.”