Murphy gives shout out to LD-33 lawmakers ahead of approving $100M rent relief fund

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Gov. Phil Murphy (D) gave a shout out to the lawmakers of the 33rd Legislative District for sponsoring a bill that would provide a statewide $100 million rent relief fund ahead of him approving the measure.

Screenshot via YouTube.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

” … I am proud to announce that our administration will be applying at least $100 million, primarily from federal CARES Act funding to stand up a short-term rental assistance program for low- and moderate-income families who most need it,” Murphy said at his daily coronavirus press briefing.

“The lieutenant governor will give us this in greater detail as this relates to the department’s efforts, but I wanted to give a few broad strokes.”

Back on March 19th, Murphy signed an executive order placing a statewide moratorium on evictions or foreclosures, prior to signing a directive last month allowing security deposits to be used toward rent payments.

Today, the governor also indicated that under Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver’s (D) leadership at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, is also planning a rental assistance program for landlords later this summer.

“And throughout this, we will work with landlords to ensure that back rent does not adversely impact any family and to ensure realistic and empathetic back rent payment plans,” Murphy added.

The $100 million rent relief fund was sponsored by state Senator Brian Stack and his state Assembly counterparts: Raj Mukherji and Annette Chaparro, a fact that was not lost on the governor.

” … As we say so often: it takes a village. In this case, I’m also grateful, as is Sheila, to our partnership with Senator Brian Stack – who has been a tireless champion for our renters – and Assembly members Raj Mukherji and Annette Chaparro.”

In a statement, Stack praised Murphy for doing his part in establishing the rental assistance program.

“I would like to applaud Governor Murphy’s foresight in establishing the COVID-19 Short-Term Rental Assistance Program. This is something that I have worked on since the pandemic started and have staunchly advocated for this program to be formed,” he said.

“Housing security is a critical public health issue and to leave residents without assistance would just add insult to injury. Likewise, landlords that are not able to collect rent from tenants may be unable to pay their mortgages. We are living in unprecedented times where tenants should not have to choose between feeding their families or paying their rent.”

Later during the same presser, Oliver shed some details on how the program would work, noting that the DCA plans to provide aid to the homeless and those who are at serious risk of becoming homeless.

” … A portion of the funding for this program will serve those who are very low-income: homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, with up to 12 months of rental assistance,” she explained.

” … The remainder of the participants will be selected through an online lottery system that will open up in July of 2020. And it will provide those individuals with up to six months of rental assistance.”

Oliver also said that preference would be given to households that earn less than 80 percent of the household median income in their county.