Jersey City expands rent relief program

More residents can apply for aid under new broader access

The program’s next application period will be from Oct. 4 to 18 at 11:59 p.m. For more information, visit www.jcnj.org/hardshipassistance. (Shutterstock photo)
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The program’s next application period will be from Oct. 4 to 18 at 11:59 p.m. For more information, visit www.jcnj.org/hardshipassistance. (Shutterstock photo)

Jersey City has announced an expansion of the city’s rent relief program, allowing more residents to apply for funding assistance.

The city’s COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, which provides families up to $10,000 in rent assistance, has been expanded to include residents who earn up to 80 percent Area Median Income (AMI) and are at risk of experiencing housing instability.

The initial program allowed only those in buildings that are two-to-four-units and owner-occupied to receive aid. The new eligibility rules will allow those in other buildings to receive assistance.

“We’ve been very clear from the start of the Rent Relief Program that we’d use a phased approach to ensure our neediest residents and landlords receive the financial assistance they deserve, rather than opening it up broadly only to have limited funds monopolized by large developers and out-of-town investors,” said Mayor Steve Fulop in a press release.

“We’ve already rolled out several financial assistance programs over the past 18 months to help residents, small business owners, and landlords impacted by COVID-19, and we will continue to expand financial assistance to those who need it most.”

The eligibility requirements are: being a Jersey City resident; income loss due to COVID-19; rent owed since April of 2020, and incurred significant pandemic-induced costs or financial hardship. The program will prioritize those who have income less than 50 percent AMI and have been unemployed for 90 days before the application. Assistance will be paid directly to the landlord or property manager.

Relief slow to be distributed

According to a report from the Huffington Post, the owner building requirement had denied a high number of applications and slowed the distribution of federal money for rent relief.

According the Huffington Post, of more than 1,110 applications and 900 roughly processed, 800 applications were denied, mostly because of the owner building requirement. Only 45 applications were approved, and only $450,000 of the $7.8 million that the city received from the U.S. Treasury Department had been distributed.

The program’s next application period will be from Oct. 4 to 18 at 11:59 p.m. For more information, visit www.jcnj.org/hardshipassistance.

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