1,638 Jersey City households will receive up to $1,500 each for COVID-19 rent and utility relief after officials announced they would be allocating $2.5 million towards the cause last month.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“It’s well established that those most affected by this pandemic are disproportionately low-income and people of color, which is why we have been working on a municipal level to provide direct aid to our residents facing income loss and eviction, regardless of their immigration status,” said Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“As soon as the pandemic hit, we set up a fund with the intention of helping our most vulnerable, and that’s exactly what we’re able to do here today.”
95 percent of the grant money providing direct aid to residents in The Heights and south west sections of the city. Of the 1,638 qualifying applicants, the locations of eligible households are divided up as follows:
Ward A: 19%, Ward B: 20%, Ward C: 17%, Ward D: 12%, Ward E: 5%, and Ward F: 27%.
Furthermore, the average applicant owed $6,350 in past due rent.
Through grant funds from the city and the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, York Street, Women Rising, United Way, and Puertorriqueños Asociados for Community Organization (PACO), will now begin providing direct case management to families in need.
Each partner will work with approximately 400 households identified as eligible for hardship relief funds.
These community-based nonprofits will each receive $500,000 in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds and an additional $125,000 each from the Mayor’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide utility and rental assistance for families struggling to make ends meet.
Additionally, the Mayor’s Relief Fund will provide grants to Welcome Home ($25,000) and Church World Service ($50,000) to provide rental and utility assistance to vulnerable immigrants, explicitly focusing on residents who may be ineligible for federal funding.
The grants will be paid directly to the tenant’s landlord or service provider. Eligibility requirements included households that fall below federal income limits, owe rent/utility payments for over three months or fewer since March 2020, as well as additional criteria outlined here.
“To enhance the City’s capacity to serve low-income residents, the Mayor’s Fund, which is administered by the EDC, focused on providing additional funding support to ensure that more vulnerable residents could be served, including those who may be ineligible for other programs due to immigration status,” added JCEDC Vice Chair Vivian Brady-Philips.
“By working closely with our nonprofit community-based partners on the ground, we know that this combined rent relief effort will help residents in need identify a broader range of potential resources.”
Under the second phase of the Jersey City COIVD-19 Hardship Assistance Program, the grant program’s eligibility criteria has been expanded under direction from the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of rental assistance, plus an additional 3 months and the city plans to spend a total of $10 million through various grant programs.
Individuals who applied during the initial application window and were deemed ineligible do not need to apply again. Those applications will be reevaluated, and the applicant will be connected to additional resources.
New applicants interested in applying for the second round of rental assistance can sign up to receive alerts here.