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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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DCA Disburses $365M in Federal Emergency Rental Assistance

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By Press Release

TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Oct. 22 announced that it has disbursed $365 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds throughout the state. 
According to a DCA release, the rental relief has been distributed to more than 40,000 households by DCA’s Division of Housing and Community Resources through the Covid Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CVERAP).
Notably, DCA had expended by Oct. 15 the entire first tranche of $353 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance it had received, beating the federal deadline to spend the funds by nearly one year. This milestone follows last month’s U.S. Treasury report that showed New Jersey as first in the nation among state-administered ERA programs, in terms of the percentage of Emergency Rental Assistance funds spent.
“These disbursement numbers demonstrate how incredibly committed DCA is to quickly and effectively getting rental assistance out to New Jersey families who have been financially impacted by the pandemic and are unable to pay their rent,” stated Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA commissioner. “We implore people in need who have not yet applied to act now and apply for rental assistance before it is too late. The assistance can help cover rent arrears, current rent, and future rent, but people must not wait until the last minute to apply.”
To help keep people in their homes, federal Emergency Rental Assistance funding assists households that are finding it difficult or impossible to pay their rent. The federal government established two separate programs: ERA1 provides up to $25 billion under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which was enacted Dec. 27, 2020, and ERA2 provides up to $21.55 billion under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was enacted on March 11, 2021. The Emergency Rental Assistance funds were provided directly to states and local governmental entities to distribute in response to the Covid pandemic.
DCA administers the Emergency Rental Assistance funds that were allocated to the State of New Jersey. The department received $353 million in ERA1 funds, all of which have been expended, and $272 million in ERA2 funds, which are currently being distributed. In addition to the Emergency Rental Assistance allocations DCA received, the federal government provided additional funds to local governments in New Jersey that are operating their own rental assistance programs.
DCA urges people who have had difficulty paying their rent to apply to both the Covid Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the Eviction Prevention Program, which launched on Sept. 1 and will provide up to $500 million in rental assistance to tenants who have faced hardship due to the pandemic.
People can visit njdca.onlinepha.com to get started. Applications can be submitted online with the use of a personal computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. The application is available in 10 languages.
Those with questions or who have difficulty accessing the internet should contact DCA’s call center, at 609-490-4550, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. The call center is staffed with English and Spanish speakers and has translation services for other languages. Pre-applications may be submitted over the phone by those without internet access.
Landlords may apply for assistance on behalf of a tenant. The landlord must:

  • Obtain the signature of the tenant on the application, which may be documented electronically
  • Must provide documentation of the application to the tenant to notify the tenant that the application has been submitted.

As part of the programs, DCA is encouraging landlords to agree to a reasonable payment plan for any rent arrears and rent not covered by the rental assistance and commit to not filing for eviction for non-payment of rent during the term of the assistance.
In addition to the Covid Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Eviction Prevention Program, the state introduced critical eviction protections for renter households that have experienced economic hardships during the pandemic. In order to be protected from eviction due to nonpayment of rent during the pandemic, residents must first self-certify for these protections. To find out more about current eviction protections available and how to self-certify for these protections, people can visit covid19.nj.gov/renter
The funding milestone announced is in addition to the $91.75 million that DCA distributed to 15,000 households in the first phase of the CVERAP program last year. 

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