New Jersey has disbursed more than $232 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds throughout the state, according to the Department of Community Affairs.
New Jersey ranks third nationally for its rate of distribution, based on the percentage of money released.
The funds have been distributed to nearly 26,000 households to date, the DCA said.
The DCA also announced that it is starting the Eviction Prevention Program, which will pay rent arrears and future rent up to a total of 24 months, as well as utility assistance, for low-income, moderate-income and middle-income households that have experienced an economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This program is made possible with $500 million in state funding for rental assistance and $250 million in state funding for utility assistance.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who also serves as the head of the DCA, said more work needs to be done.
“We are proud to be in the top tier of states to get federal emergency rental assistance out, but we know even more needs to be done to help families who have struggled to pay their rent throughout this pandemic,” she said.
“This is why DCA continues to focus on picking up the pace of distributing funds, so that as many people as possible can avoid eviction. It is also why we are launching the Eviction Prevention Program, which will help us expand income eligibility to reach even more households in need.”
The Eviction Prevention Program will use the same application process and procedures as the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which began in March 2021 and is still accepting applications.
As established by the state law, the Eviction Prevention Program may serve renter households up to 120% of Area Media Income, as opposed to the federal maximum of 80% of AMI in the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Additionally, the Eviction Prevention Program may provide both rent arrears and future rent payments for a period up to two years, with recertification every six months.
The DCA urges people who have had difficulty paying their rent to apply to the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Eviction Prevention Program. (Click here for more information.)