Utility/rent relief assistance available to Jersey City’s neediest regardless of immigration status

by PDM STAFF

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop | “190205-Z-AL508-1147” Photo by New Jersey National Guard via CC PDM 1.0

JERSEY CITY, NJ – Jersey City and the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation (JCIED) is investing over $2.5 million to help its neediest residents prevent eviction regardless of immigration status.

In a statement, it said the city’s COVID-19 Hardship Assistance Program will utilize $2.5 million from the Mayor’s COVID-19 Relief Fund and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to provide residents with up to 3 months of utility and rent relief.

The city has partnered with four nonprofit organizations to help administer and oversee the program; namely, York Street, Women Rising, United Way, and Puertorriqueños Asociados for Community Organization (PACO). Each organization will receive $500,000 in CDBG funds and an additional $125,000 from the Mayor’s Relief Fund to address utility and rental assistance for families struggling to make ends meet through a fair lottery process to guarantee equal access.

The mayor’s Relief Fund will also infuse Welcome Home, $25,000, and Church World, $50,000 to provide rental and utility assistance to vulnerable immigrants, particularly residents who may be ineligible for federal funding.

“Since day one of this pandemic, we have worked to protect our residents from the economic fallout as best we can, and this emergency funding is the latest step to directly protect our residents from eviction and the many other unprecedented challenges the pandemic has caused,” said Mayor Steve Fulop. “By leveraging our nonprofits that are already actively engaged with the community, we will maximize our impact to help minimize hardships for our neediest residents, many of whom have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own.”

The Hardship Assistance Program will also assist residents with landlord-tenant and other legal services to prevent eviction, benefits counseling, immigrant rights, and other related services.

“This financial aid will mean low-income families won’t have to choose between paying rent and feeding their family or buying necessary medications,” said Vivian Brady-Philips, Vice Chair of the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation. “The JCEDC is working with city and community agencies to design this program, which will provide much-needed aid to residents regardless of immigration status.”

The maximum amount of aid per household is $1,500, which will be paid directly to the tenant’s landlord or service provider. Eligibility requirements include households that fall below federal income limits, owe rent/utility payments for over three months or fewer since March 2020, as well as additional criteria outlined on this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) link.

Applications for the Hardship Assistance Program will be available at 9 a.m. on January 18, 2021, through 5 p.m. on February 1, 2021. To apply, residents can fill out the online application on the city’s website jcnj.org/hardshipassistance.

For additional questions or assistance, residents can email incomequaldcd@jcnj.org or contact one of the participating organizations:

• PACO | https://pacoagency.org | (844) 722-6432
• United Way of Hudson County | https://unitedwayhudson.org | (201) 492-2368
• WomenRising | https://womenrising.org | (201) 333-5700 ext. 552
• York Street Project | https://yorkstreetproject.org | (201) 451-9838
• Church World Service | https://cwsjerseycity.org | (201) 659-0467
• Welcome Home | https://welcomehomerefugees.org | (201) 851-6171

In 2020, 154 community-based organizations and institutions citywide were selected to receive Mayor’s COVID-19 Relief Fund grants between $5,000 and $65,000 distributed through the JCEDC. The awardees included 119 artists and arts organization as chosen by the Jersey City Arts Council, 12 summer youth nonprofit organizations, 12 art program organizations and 12 community-based organizations.

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