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Rental Relief Fund Combats COVID-Related Homelessness

Post Date:08/03/2020 7:02 PM

Somerville, NJ – Somerset County is using federal CARES Act funding to establish the Emergency Rental Relief Program (ERRP) to help households that lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic make monthly rent payments. The majority of the ERRP will be paid directly to landlords for rent, and the remainder of the grant will be used for tenant advocacy services and administrative expenses.

“Somerset County is committed to working with renters and landlords to prevent homelessness and maintain a stable rental market during the economic crisis caused by COVID-19,” said Freeholder Director Shanel Robinson. “The Emergency Rental Relief Program, in conjunction with other state and federal efforts, will help keep families in their homes as we reach the hottest month of the year and reduce the vacancies and expense of finding new tenants for landlords.”

Only tenants who can demonstrate their rent was up to date for March 2020, prior to the COVID-19 disruptions to our economy, should apply. Successful applicants are eligible for the lesser of three months’ rent or $3,000 to be used to offset owed rent and will be paid directly to landlords through a partnership with Somerset County Social Services.

The program is funded by a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) allocation of $530,000 from the March 2020 Federal CARES Act for the majority of Somerset County, with separate CDBG funding allocated to Franklin Township.  As a result, Franklin Township residents are not eligible for ERRP assistance.

In order to be eligible, an applicant must:

  • Be a resident of any Somerset County municipality (except Franklin Township) and have a current lease or rent agreement.
  • Have a household income that is less than the following income limits, based on household size including children:

 1 Person - $66,900            2 People - $76,500

3 People - $86,100            4 People - $95,600

5 People - $103,200          6 People - $110,900

  • Be able to demonstrate that rent payments were current as of March 2020.
  • Provide documentation of COVID-related loss of income after March 9, 2020.  Examples include:
    • Layoff or reduced work hours;
    • Unpaid leave to take care of children due to school and daycare closure;
    • Self-quarantine for 14 days resulting in a loss of income;
    • Other consequence of the virus that led to a reduction of income.

In order to receive assistance, eligible residents must complete an application and submit the required documentation.  For your convenience, there are 3 different ways to apply. 

To learn more about Somerset County’s Community Development Office, please visit  https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/human-services/community-development.

 

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