Jersey City offers a new COVID-19 Rent Relief Program for Neediest Small Unit Landlords and Tenants

by PDM STAFF

Apartment units | Photo by Davyd Markovskyi on Unsplash

JERSEY CITY, NJ – Jersey City offers another round of COVID-19 rent relief program aimed at families living in owner-occupied buildings with less than five apartments. The program provides up to $10,000 in rental assistance to eligible applicants, announced Mayor Steven M. Fulop and the Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA) today.

The program’s goal is two-fold: first, each grant will provide rent relief to residents with the greatest need, and second, it will also benefit small property owners that live on the premises. The program is funded by the $7 million the City received from the US Department of the Treasury in Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds.

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,” said Mayor Fulop. “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.”

Landlords and social service case managers will have the ability to start an application for rent relief on behalf of a tenant. The rental assistance will be paid directly to the landlord or property manager. The city said it built this safeguard into the program to ensure that access to the program is broadened to those most in need.

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

Eligibility requirements 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 in the year, over 1,600 low-income families in the Heights and the southwest portion of the city received funding from the city as part of the COVID-19 Community Relief Distribution Fund and CARES Act funding. In total, $2.5 million in direct aid was distributed.

“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,” said Vivian Brady-Philips, Executive Director of the JCHA. “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 17, 2021, through Tuesday, August 31, 2021. For additional program details and a link to the application, please visit jcnj.org/HardshipAssistance.

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