NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) announced Thursday that it has completely disbursed its original $625 million allocation of federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds to New Jersey renter households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
About $608 million in rental aid has been delivered to 67,880 households by DCA’s Division of Housing and Community Resources during the second phase of the State’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CVERAP). The remainder is being used to administer the program.
The Department’s high performance in distributing the rental assistance has led to not one, but two additional ERA awards to the State of New Jersey. On March 14th, DCA was notified by the U.S. Department of Treasury that it will receive $44.6 million more in ERA funds. This is on top of the additional $42.7 million in ERA funds that DCA received earlier this year. The $87.3 million in extra funds were reallocated by U.S. Treasury from other states and localities in the nation that didn’t use them.
“Despite the ongoing challenges of this pandemic, DCA has stepped up to deliver critical assistance to tens of thousands of residents who need help paying their rent,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “This dedication has not gone unnoticed by the federal government. In fact, it is precisely because of this hard work that DCA is getting even more funding for emergency rental assistance. The extra money is allowing us to serve more families who may not have been reached otherwise.”
DCA is using the extra $87.3 million in federal ERA funds to help households on the CVERAP program’s waiting list. If people submitted an application for CVERAP prior to the closing of the program’s application period on December 15, 2021, and are contacted by DCA, they should follow the instructions they are given.
In addition to CVERAP, DCA is also administering the $500 million Eviction Prevention Program, which is focused mainly on helping households pay their rent moving forward for up to two years. The application period for the Eviction Prevention Program has also closed. The $500 million will be distributed monthly over 24 months. Thus far, DCA has disbursed more than $10 million to the approximately 4,600 households that are already in the Eviction Prevention Program.
If people did not previously submit an application for CVERAP or the Eviction Prevention Program and are in need of help in paying rent arrears or future rent, they may submit a pre-application at https://njdca.onlinepha.com/ to be considered if DCA reopens the application period in the future.
Aside from providing rental assistance, the State has in place eviction protections for nonpayment of rent for households that experienced economic hardships during the heart of the pandemic. However, these eviction protections aren’t automatic; people must act.
To be protected from eviction due to nonpayment of rent from March 2020 through August 31, 2021, tenants must self-certify as to their income for these protections. To be protected for the months of September 2021 through December 31, 2021, they must self-certify their income and also apply in some way for rental assistance through local, county, and/or state government.
DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including energy assistance, housing vouchers, affordable housing production, fire and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery and mitigation.