Bill to create $100M N.J. rent relief fund heading to gov’s desk after clearing assembly

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A bill to create a $100 million New Jersey rent relief fund is heading to Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) desk after clearing the state Assembly this morning.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Bill (A-3956) establishes a temporary emergency rental assistance program for residential tenants who have suffered an income loss due to the COVID-19 crisis and cleared the full Assembly by a vote of 66-0-14 this morning.

Specifically, the bill appropriates $100 million to provide rental assistance to tenants across the state. Rental assistance federal aid New Jersey may receive must be spent before the general fund money is used.

The Assembly bill was sponsored by Raj Mukherji, Annette Chaparro (both D-33), and Benjie Wimberly (D-37) and the measure was approved by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee last week.

“The pandemic has caused a very sudden and very severe economic hardship for many New Jersey families, especially for working families who were already trying to find ways to balance their household budgets,” the three sponsors said in a joint statement.

“Nearly 1 million people have been left unemployed at this time as we continue to battle COVID-19 with social distancing and non-essential business closures. Existing housing assistance programs in the state may not be equipped to handle a crisis of this magnitude. This pandemic is a unique challenge that requires us to help each other and to support families in getting through this time.”

This legislation is a compliment to the measure that cleared the state senate last month, which was introduced by state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), along with state Senators Brian Stack (D-33) and Kristin Corrado (R-40).

Another measure sponsored by Chaparro and Mukherji, which would help provide benefits for first responders disabled or killed by COVID-19, also passed the full Assembly this morning.

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