TOMS RIVER – Those seeking help in paying their rent due to setbacks caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are urged to contact the Ocean County Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn said, “we know that 2020 posed many challenges for all of us and many of our residents are having a difficult time making ends meet and keeping a roof over their heads due to COVID-19.”
“This emergency rental assistance program will help our low- and moderate-income families in their efforts to keep a roof over their heads and to assist their landlords,” Quinn added.
Applications for the program will be taken by the county starting April 7. The online application can be accessed from the Ocean County website at co.ocean.nj.us. Click on View Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program for information and the application.
Quinn said that Ocean County residents can currently find preliminary information on the County website and can access it to prepare for the application. “We will continue to add information to the web page as we move closer to the application opening date.”
“This program has been set up to help only Ocean County residential renters and landlords. This grant will cover up to six months back rent and will help our young families and our seniors that have been having a very difficult time because of this pandemic,” Quinn added.
The Ocean County Board of Commissioners is sponsoring the program and utilizes an $18 million grant from the Treasury Department to help residents catch up on their back rent.
The program includes a maximum grant total of $10,644 and will be paid directly to the landlord.
Quinn said that it was “paramount that we make every effort to help our residents maintain housing stability. When you experience the concern about losing the roof over your head, it is difficult to keep on track with a daily routine.”
All applicants are required to certify that they have not received assistance from the N.J. Department of Community Affairs’ program or other rental assistance programs prior to receiving benefits from the County’s program. The county’s program is not related to the current program being run by the state Department of Community Affairs.
Another provision for applicants is that they must show that their income does not exceed the Area Median Income limits and that they were unable to pay their rent due to COVID-19 pandemic. Income limits are listed on the web page.
Quinn added, “you will also need to provide a current lease/rental agreement and provide all required documents for your application to be considered complete.”
The participation of the applicant’s landlord is also required. They must provide information for the rental assistance payment. Tenants and landlord applicants are encouraged to work together to receive funds quickly, if approved. Landlords can also apply on behalf of tenants.
“Funding is limited so we encourage our residents to apply early. We will be announcing soon where help for filling out applications will be available,” Quinn said.
Quinn said that the county is working “with our human services and social services agencies with getting information out about this program. This has been an ongoing partnership with a number of county agencies starting with our Ocean County Commissioners to get our residents the help they really need.”
The official warned that while an application is not a guarantee of assistance, it’s important that our residents know help is available. Help will also be available through the Ocean County Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program call center starting April 5. The number is 833-753-9671.