New Jersey has recently announced the enactment of the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program Phase II (“CVERAP-II”) to assist eligible households struggling to pay rent and utilities due to the ongoing pandemic.
This program utilizes over $350 million given under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Biden. Further, over $230 million in federal stimulus money was provided to directly to 14 of the 21 New Jersey counties and to two cities for rental assistance. The counties that received direct federal assistance funds include: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, and Union; and the cities include: Jersey City and Newark. While each county and city that received direct federal money will have their own application procedure and requirements in place, CVERAP-II will have a statewide designated portal.
The application portal will be available 24 hours a day beginning March 22, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. Applications will be accepted until an adequate number have been received to distribute the full funding amount. All applications will be entered into a randomized lottery, and those who are selected will be notified via email.
According to the CVERAP-II, an eligible household includes those that:
- Qualify for unemployment or have faced a significant reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;
- Demonstrate a risk of homelessness or housing instability; and
- Have a household income at or below 80% of area median income based upon household size.
The CVERAP-II will assist qualifying households with a maximum of 12 months for past-due, unpaid rent, dating back to March 13, 2020. If any funds in the pool remain after arrears have been paid, an additional three months to assist with future rent payments may be available. Past-due, unpaid rent will be paid first, with the remainder available for future rent through December 2021.
Rental amounts will be capped at 125% of the area Fair Market Rent (“FMR”) if a household has a lease agreement. However, for households that will be relying on the self-certification process (do not have a lease), their rental payments will be capped at 100% of the greater of FMR, or the Small Area Fair Market Rent for their area.
If an applicant is successfully selected, payments will be made directly to the landlord and an award letter will be mailed to both the tenant and their landlord indicating payment.
Applicants are not precluded from applying for other rental assistance; however, CVERAP-II assistance will cease if the applicant is awarded rental assistance from another source. Further, if a household is receiving funding from other rental assistance programs such as Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) or Public Housing, that household will not be eligible to receive CVERAP assistance if the assistance results in duplicative benefits for the same months of assistance.
For additional information on the CVERAP-II, please visit: https://njdca.onlinepha.com/
For CVERAP-II Frequently Asked Questions, please visit: https://njdca.onlinepha.com/en-US/Pages/View/145/Frequently%20Asked%20Questions
If you have any additional questions, please contact New Jersey Attorney, Christopher Saliba, Esquire.