OCEAN COUNTY – The Ocean County Residential Emergency Rental Assistance program will help county residents to pay their rent and avoid eviction.
“If your rent is in arrears or if you are a landlord who has not been paid due to the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, this program offers financial assistance in the form of a grant,” said Ocean County Commissioner Director Gary Quinn.
This program provides up to $26,610 in assistance paid directly to the landlord. It covers up to 12 months of arrearages and three months’ rent going forward. Median income requirements must also be met. The money was made available through the federal CARES Act.
The application is accessible from the Ocean County website at co.ocean.nj.us. Click on the link to the Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This will connect you to information about the grant program including the documents needed, eligibility requirements, where to find case managers and the actual application. Income limits are listed on the web page.
Residents and landlords can get direct help with the application process from case managers by calling the Ocean County Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program call center at 833-753-9671. A schedule of locations, dates and times to meet with case managers is also available on the application page.
“The amounts have been increased to meet the needs of our residents and landlords. It’s for those households that have qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak,” Quinn said.
“We have received over 1,100 applications so far. The Commissioners appropriated $18 million for this assistance and we continue to accept applications,” Quinn said. “As critical dates approach for the lifting of moratoriums on evictions, now more than ever, this grant program, could serve as a true lifeline. It helps both the renter and the landlord, who in many cases has gone without receiving rental income and has also suffered financially because of nonpayment.”
Applicants will need to demonstrate that their income does not exceed the Area Median Income limits and that they were unable to pay their rent due to COVID-19.
“You will also need to provide a current lease/rental agreement and provide all required documents for your application to be considered complete,” Quinn said.
This program also requires participation of the applicant’s landlord to provide information for rental assistance payment. Tenants and landlord applicants are encouraged to work together to receive the grant funds.
Applicants will need to certify that they have not received assistance from the N.J. Department of Community Affairs’ program or other rental assistance programs before receiving benefits from Ocean County’s program. Landlords can also apply on behalf of tenants.
“While an application is not a guarantee of assistance, it’s important that our residents know help is available,” Quinn said.