COVID-19 Housing Assistance
Covid-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program Phase II (CVERAP Phase II) Opening March 22
This program will provide rental arrears and temporary rental assistance to low- and moderate-income households that have had a substantial reduction in income, have qualified for unemployment benefits, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due, directly, or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic. CVERAP Phase II applications will only be accepted ONLINE. The application period opens March 22nd, 2021 at 9:00 am. The application will not be accessible before that time. Pre-applications will be accepted until an adequate number of pre-applications have been received to distribute all available program funds. A Notice will be published announcing when the open enrollment period will close.
Paper CVERAP Phase II applications will not be distributed or accepted but reasonable accommodations will be made for disabled individuals, persons who have limited English proficiency, and those without internet access. Please contact DCA’s Applicant Service at 609-490-4550, for assistance.
Submission of a CVERAP Phase II application does not guarantee placement in the program. Only one CVERAP Phase II application per household will be accepted.
A computerized selection (lottery) process will be used to determine the order in which applications will be selected for eligibility determination. Every application submitted during the open application period has the same chance of being selected during the lottery.
Please be advised that the submission of a CVERAP Phase II application does not guarantee placement in the program, nor does it guarantee CVERAP Phase II temporary rental assistance. You can check the status of your application here starting March 22, 2021.
County and City Rental Assistance Programs May Help
Bergen County - Bergen County is opening an Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program for those who have been unable to pay their rent and/or utility payments dating back to March 13, 2020 and may receive up to 12 months of rental arrears and utility payments. Starting June 14, 2021 and ending July 23, 2021, tenants can submit applications. To be eligible, you must be a Bergen County resident making less than 80% of the average income. Applicants are required to provide documentation such as income verification, proof of citizenship, proof of residency, etc. If you are a landlord, you may begin registering property information on June 7, 2021. Learn more about the program and eligibility here.
Hudson County - The County of Hudson will be opening its second round of its Eviction Protection Program for households affected by Covid-19 starting Monday, February 15, 2021. Applications will be open through June 15, 2021, OR until funding runs out. In order to be eligible, applicants must be a resident of Hudson County, must have been financially impacted by Covid-19, must have received a summons or eviction notice from a landlord, and must meet the income guidelines outlined on the flyer which can be found here and, in Spanish, here. Assistance is available for both rental and utility assistance, and the household does not need to be able to show they can pay their rent moving forward to be eligible.
Hunterdon County - Family Promise of Hunterdon County is offering assistance to residents who are currently in rental arrears due to loss of income as the result of Covid-19. No warrant or summon of removal is required. Eligible households can qualify for payment of up to three months of arrears. Call 908.782.2490. Learn more about their other rental assistance programs here.
Middlesex County - Middlesex County's Emergency Rental Assistance Program (MCERAP) will begin accepting applications on May 3, 2021 for financial aid from renter households that are behind on rent and/or utility payments as a result of COVID-19. Eligible households must have at least one individual meeting the following criteria: qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19, demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, mainly documented by having an outstanding rental balance and/or eviction filing, and/or has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income. Find out more here.
Ocean County – The Ocean County Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program is a program designed to help low income residents who are struggling to pay rent or may be facing eviction. There can only be one application submitted per household unless roommates have individual leases. Landlords can apply on behalf of tenants as well. Applications begin April 7, 2021. Funds are limited so be sure to apply early. If approved, the funds will be paid directly to the applicant's landlord. To find out more information, including income eligibility requirements and required documents, click here.
Another program being offered in Ocean County is through the Social Services for the Homeless (SSH) Grant. Overseen by the Ocean County Board of Social Services, this grant may be able to assist county residents with back rent, back-mortgage, back utilities, security deposit, first month rent, and temporary shelter (on a short-term basis). SSH can be utilized for individuals, families and adult couples. The agency has a separate Emergency Assistance program for clients receiving GA/TANF/SSI but this is a non-public assistance grant. Therefore, all persons over the age of 18 in the household must have a source of income (not GA/TANF/SSI) and have future affordability. Examples of income include wages, unemployment, child support, and SSD. The client will also need to have a verifiable emergency as to the reason they are behind and need assistance. Rental must be within Fair Market rent (Rent + Utility Averages): 1 bedroom: $1,291 / 2 bedrooms: $1,652 / 3 bedrooms: $2,277. Clients can call 732-349-1500 and request to speak to someone in Special Response to complete a screening.
Passaic County - Passaic County residents who have been struggling to pay their rent or may be facing eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects are encouraged to apply for the Passaic Housing Security Initiative and Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The Spanish version of this application can be found here. This program will provide rental arrears and temporary rental assistance to low and moderate-income households with a substantial reduction in income, including those who have qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To find out if you are eligible click here or to find out more information click here.
Passaic County is also now offering a resource hub for social and human services to their residents including community-based organizations, faith communities, government, law enforcement, education, business, and nonprofits.
Somerset County - A CDBG-CV Emergency Rental Relief Program for county households that had a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up in Somerset County. Applicants may be eligible for up to 3 months’ rent or $3,000.00, whichever is less, for payment toward rent that is owed. Learn more here.
Funding is limited and available on a first come, first serve basis. Clients can call 732-349-1500 and request to speak to someone in Special Response to complete a screening. For more information, please contact Community Development at 908-541-5756 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn about other homelessness prevention programs across New Jersey by searching our resource database.
Tenants Know your Rights
There is an eviction moratorium during the COVID-19 Emergency which prevents renters from being locked out of their home until after that time. While the Governor has the power to shorten or extend this protective measure, during the time that it is in effect, renters have certain rights. The Community Health Law Project, offers a simple summary of what you can expect and on other topics.
Free Counseling Available to Homeowners and Renters
Governor Murphy and Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) announced an expansion in the NJ HMFA's Housing Counseling Initiative during the pandemic. Now free assistance is available from housing counselors to help homeowners going through foreclosure, which includes pre-foreclosure and rental assistance counseling. Even families that are receiving some sort of relief are expressing concern at their ability to make back payments on rent, mortgages, property taxes, etc. A housing counselor can help you understand what sort of relief is available for your situation and build an action plan to get you to the other side of this crisis with your best possible outcomes. You may also seek help through this program by calling 1-800-NJ-HOUSE.
Help for Homeowners - Counselors will provide an analysis of the client’s financial situation; evaluation of the current value of the home that is subject to the mortgage; review of options such as lender in-house modifications that may include restructuring or refinancing strategies; and the approval of an action plan by all interested parties. In the case of foreclosure prevention, whether or not the homeowner is in foreclosure, the goal is to assist the homeowners in retaining their homes with an affordable mortgage, however this result cannot be guaranteed in all situations and some instances may require assisting with a soft transition. Learn more about help for homeowners here.
Help for Renters - Counselors will provide an analysis of the client’s financial situation, and guide tenants through budget and credit repair, assist with fair housing issues, and eviction diversion and transition, if necessary. Renters can also review the list of NJHMFA Properties Affected by Rent Increase Suspension to see if their property is affected by the recent rent increase freeze. Learn more about help for renters here.
Housing Help NJ
Housing Help NJ is a program that is administered through the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ. It was developed to connect New Jersey renters, landlords, and homeowners with information available from multiple sources to assist in preventing eviction. If you would like to speak with someone about foreclosure or eviction, you may also call 888.691.3002. Housing Help NJ does not provide direct financial assistance.