Jersey City COVID-19 rent relief program will offer up to $10k for low-income families

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The latest Jersey City COVID-19 rent relief program will offer up to $10,000 for low-income families that have experienced significant financial hardship during the pandemic.

Photo via jerseycitynj.org.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The program will prioritize families living in owner-occupied buildings with less than five apartments, with a goal of providing rent relief to residents with the greatest need while simultaneously ensuring small property owners that live on the premise also benefit.

The city will dedicate more than $7 million received from the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds administered by their housing authority on behalf of the city to provide up to $10,000 per qualifying household to cover rent and rental arrears.

“We understand that families are struggling to pay rent, and small property owners are also struggling to keep up with the mortgage and other bills. That’s why we are focusing on owner-occupied buildings with four units or less, because they have been the hardest-hit and will benefit most from this aid, rather than large businesses,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.

“Once we can help our lowest-income residents, we intend to methodically expand the eligibility pool further by income and to non-owner-occupied buildings.”

To broaden access to the program and ensure that it reaches those in need, landlords and social service case managers may also initiate an application for rent relief on behalf of a tenant. The rental assistance will be paid directly to the landlord or property manager.

Per federal requirements, priority households will include those who have experienced financial hardships due to COVID-19, such as reduced income, significant incurred costs, and families where at least one member has been unemployed for the 90 days prior to the application.

Eligibility requirements also include the following:

• Jersey City residency
• Income loss due to COVID-19
• Rent owed since April 2020
• Income below 50% Area Median Income (AMI)
• 2-4 unit, owner-occupied buildings
• Incurred significant pandemic-induced cost or financial hardship

Earlier this year, the Fulop administration dedicated $2.5 million in direct aid to over 1,600 low-income families for utility and rent relief allocated from their COVID-19 Community Relief Distribution Fund and CARES Act funding.

95 percent of that grant money provided direct aid to residents in the Jersey City Heights and neighborhoods in the south-west section of the city, officials said today.

“The JCHA is pleased to be working closely with the City to administer this latest round of rent relief funding, which will significantly help ease the financial burdens low-income residents and small landlords face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Jersey City Housing Authority Executive Director Vivian Brady-Philips.

“In advance of the application period, JCHA will provide information and outreach to tenants, small landlords, and community-based partners to help low-income residents learn about and apply for the program.”

The online application period for the Jersey City COVID-19 Rent Relief Program will run from Tuesday, August 17th through Tuesday, August 31st.

For additional program details and a link to the application, please visit jcnj.org/HardshipAssistance.

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