Morris County is a National Leader in COVID-19 Rental Assistance Disbursement – Morris County, NJ
Posted on October 29, 2021
Tenants and landlords can still apply
The Morris County Department of Social Services has been very successful in disbursing federal rent assistance made available to families and landlords affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, thwarting a national trend in which disbursements have stalled.
Congress has allocated over $ 45 billion rent assistance last spring to help low and modest income families struggling to pay their rent during the pandemic; however, the US Treasury Department reported that only about a fifth of dollars had reached households by the end of September. Morris County and Burlington County, in partnership with the State Department of Community Affairs (DCA), were notable exceptions due to aggressive efforts to reach those in need.
A total of $ 14,677,248.30 has been allocated to Morris County. As of October 24, Morris County had paid $ 11,980,600.12 to 1,287 claimants. The state’s DCA estimates that the full allowance will be paid by the end of the year.
“We have worked closely with our local nonprofits and other partner agencies to alert and contact both owners and residents in need. We also received critical support from our Courts Administration Office, which hosted monthly educational webinars to help educate tenant and landlord groups and other stakeholders. In addition, our staff aboard the Navigating Hope van continue to be in the community several times a week to inform and educate residents who need support. It really takes partnerships to make this initiative a success, and the work continues, ”said Kasey Errico, Morris County Director of Social Services.
Help remains available in Morris County and the State of New Jersey for people who have had a substantial reduction in their income, who have been entitled to unemployment benefits, have incurred significant costs, or have experienced hardship. financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. REMARK: A new income threshold, cited below, increases eligibility for assistance to more households.
“We have also received additional federal funding for the program which will begin to be allocated once this first round is distributed,” Errico added.
Renters and landlords can learn about the program by simply checking the criteria provided on the DCA COVID-19 information website. Some of the qualifications are also listed below.
To apply, simply go to: https://njdca.onlinepha.com/
Federal Emergency Rent Assistance funding is designed to help avoid a housing crisis for tenants who are in critical need of such support. The funding will also provide much needed relief to homeowners, who have also been challenged by the financial impacts of the pandemic, according to Errico.
Morris County has worked with DCA, like other counties, to use the state’s program provider and eliminate confusion for those in need by using an online portal to access the application from assistance.
The program covers two areas:
Emergency rental assistance for arrears: Applicants may be eligible for up to twelve months of Emergency Rent Assistance to help pay rent arrears and future rent to the extent funds are available. Families who have already received funding under Phase I of the program, need additional rent assistance, and have not yet received the maximum of twelve months of emergency rent assistance can request additional funding.
Emergency rental assistance for current and future rents: Financial assistance is limited to three months depending on the submitted application, except that the household may receive additional assistance for additional months subject to the availability of remaining funds and eligibility, not exceeding 12 months (plus three additional months if necessary to ensure the stability of the accommodation).
Individuals applying must meet all applicable income and eligibility criteria. You must be eighteen (18) years of age or older to apply or be an emancipated minor. Only one (1) request per household will be accepted. Nominations will be accepted until sufficient nominations have been received to ensure the distribution of all available funds. A computerized selection process (lottery) will be used to select residents who have been affected by COVID-19 for the determination of eligibility.
Eligibility criteria: Selected households must meet the following eligibility criteria to be eligible for assistance:
- Be eligible for unemployment or have suffered a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Demonstrate a risk of homelessness or housing instability;
- Have a household income equal to or less than 120 percent of the region’s median income (please see income limits at https://njdca.onlinepha.com/);
- Having a lack of assets and savings to pay rent arrears or current and future rents;
- Be a resident of New Jersey; and
- Obligation to pay rent on residential accommodation.
The program will only pay rent arrears incurred after March 13, 2020.
Property managers or owners of residential accommodation can seek assistance on behalf of a tenant.
The owner must:
- Obtain the tenant’s signature on the request, which can be documented electronically; and
- Must provide the request documentation to the tenant to inform the tenant that the request has been submitted.