Through their COVID-19 Hardship Assistance Program, the City of Jersey City, in conjunction with the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, is allocating $2.5 million towards rental and utility assistance for up to $1,500 per person.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The $2.5 million will come from the COVID-19 Relief Fund spearheaded by Mayor Steven Fulop and the Community Development Block Grants.
The concept of further rent relief was first mentioned by the mayor at his State of the City Address last month.
“Since day one of this pandemic, we have worked to protect our residents from the economic fallout as best we can, and this emergency funding is the latest step to directly protect our residents from eviction and the many other unprecedented challenges the pandemic has caused,” Fulop said in a statement.
“By leveraging our non-profits that are already actively engaged with the community, we will maximize our impact to help minimize hardships for our neediest residents, many of whom have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own.”
York Street, Women Rising, United Way, and Puertorriqueños Asociados for Community Organization (PACO) have been selected to receive $500,000 in CDBG funds, as well as an additional $125,000 from the mayor’s relief fund, to address utility and rental assistance for families struggling to make ends meet through a lottery process.
Additionally, the mayor’s relief fund will provide grants to Welcome Home ($25,000) and Church World ($50,000), for the purpose of providing rental and utility assistance to vulnerable immigrants, specifically focusing on residents who may be ineligible for federal funding.
The Hardship Assistance Program will also assist residents with landlord-tenant and other legal services to prevent eviction, benefits counseling, immigrant rights, and other related services.
“This financial aid will mean low-income families won’t have to choose between paying rent and feeding their family or buying necessary medications,” added JCEDC Vice Chair Vivian Brady-Philips.
“The JCEDC is working with city and community agencies to design this program, which will provide much-needed aid to residents regardless of immigration status.”
The maximum amount of aid per household is $1,500, which will be paid directly to the tenant’s landlord or service provider.
Eligibility requirements include 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 on this FAQ sheet.
“Studies show the pandemic has impacted low-income and minority families the most, and as the most diverse city in the nation, we’re working to meet the diverse needs that many local families never imagined they’d be facing today,” noted Carmen Gandulla, the Jersey City Director of the Division of Community Development.
Applications for the Hardship Assistance Program will be available beginning at 9 a.m. on January 18th through 5 p.m. on February 1st.
To apply, residents can fill out the online application on the city’s website here.