Newark announces third round ($14M) of rent assistance program

Newark will launch a third round of its Emergency Rental Assistance Program, leveraging $14 million in federal funding from the U.S. Treasury made available through the American Rescue Plan, Mayor Ras Baraka announced Wednesday.

Qualifying households will be able to receive up to 15 months of assistance toward arrears or future rent, and, in some cases, the possibility of utility assistance.

Baraka said the allocation of this round was shaped by Newark’s commitment to equitable growth and is part of a larger package of recovery initiatives that will be launched over the next eight weeks.

Here’s who qualifies

To ensure the most vulnerable households receive assistance, applicants who have been unemployed for more than 90 days or have a household income at or below 50% of the Area Median Income will be prioritized. To receive assistance, applicants must:

  • Be a Newark resident.
  • Have a 2020 household income at or below 80% of the AMI in Newark.
  • Either qualify for unemployment or have experienced a reduction in household income due to COVID-19.
  • Be currently responsible for paying rent at their primary residence.
  • Be currently responsible for paying utilities for their primary residence (unless utilities are included in their rent).

The $14 million in ERAP announced Wednesday follows two previous rounds of rental assistance provided by the city, which have helped more than 1,900 Newark households stay in their homes during the pandemic. These rounds were funded through the CARES Act.

Property owners are encouraged to preregister once landlord registration goes live July 19 to receive direct payments on behalf of approved tenants. Newark tenants will be able to apply for the program once the tenant application goes live July 26.

“COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, shining a light on long-term economic inequalities and causing acute short-term needs — like keeping current with rent while struggling with job losses or reduced hours,” Baraka said. “Our Emergency Rental Assistance programs will help more than 6,000 Newark residents remain in their homes and avoid the crushing debt that can lead to evictions. This is a critical part of our Equitable Recovery Summer and our Newark Forward vision for a more equitable and inclusive city.”

Allison Ladd, deputy mayor and director of economic and housing development, agreed.

“Building on lessons learned from the first rounds of ERAP, the city has enhanced its third round of rental assistance,” she said. “We can now provide rental assistance directly to tenants, enabling applicants who live in buildings where a landlord has not registered for the program to receive assistance, and we have made the application process more user-friendly.”

Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consulting firm that works with cities and mayors around the world, worked with Newark officials across all three funding rounds to help analyze data on applicants and recipients and determine the gaps in assistance. Newark officials also engaged EY, in partnership with Microsoft, to administer the program, providing a more user-friendly application portal and expedited application and payment processing.