More help is coming for New Jersey tenants still struggling to pay rent and utilities because of the pandemic.
The U.S. Treasury Department is giving the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs more than $51 million in additional rental assistance for households that were hurt financially by the pandemic and are in danger of losing their homes.
The federal government awarded the funds last month in the latest reallocations of pandemic rental assistance. The Treasury Department has been transferring money from state and local governments that did not use their funding to those that did and asked for more. New Jersey anticipates it will receive the funds later this month.
More than 2½ years since the start of the pandemic, some renters are still dealing with lost income, medical expenses, and other financial hardships caused directly or indirectly by the COVID-19 health crisis, while many pandemic-related safeguards have expired.
Rental assistance has helped millions of renters nationwide to avoid evictions. So far, more than $40 billion of the roughly $46.5 billion available to help renters has been spent or promised, according to the Treasury Department.
New Jersey expects to distribute the latest funding to 4,100 to 4,600 households that are on the waiting list for its /njdca.onlinepha.com/">COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Applications for the program are closed.
About 50,200 households are on the waiting list. Of those, the state has preapproved more than 15,800 to receive assistance as funds become available.
In the latest reallocations of emergency rental assistance funds last month, the Treasury Department also awarded money to these local governments in the Philadelphia region:
Burlington County: roughly $390,000
Camden County: roughly $130,000
Delaware County: $3.99 million
Montgomery County: $9.42 million
This year, the Treasury Department has awarded the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs a total of about $180 million in additional federal Emergency Rental Assistance funds. The state has distributed more than $87 million of that money so far.
The federal government initially gave New Jersey $625 million in pandemic rental assistance funds, which the state finished giving out to households in March, according to the Department of Community Affairs. Since the state’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program began in July 2020, it has distributed money to more than 68,000 households across New Jersey.
The Department of Community Affairs “is incredibly grateful that the federal government is rewarding our efficiency in distributing Emergency Rental Assistance by providing us with additional funds so that we can help even more renter households in need,” New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, commissioner of the department, said in a statement.
The department also administers the state’s /www.state.nj.us/dca/dhcr/offices/pdf/FAQs_EPP.pdf">Eviction Prevention Program, signed into law in August 2021. Through the program, about 28,500 households will receive rental assistance each month for as long as two years.