Ocean County Press Release
OCEAN COUNTY residents that have been struggling to pay their rent or may be facing eviction as a result of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are encouraged to apply for the Ocean County Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program, according to the Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn.
"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," Quinn said. "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."
Ocean County expects to begin taking applications for the program on April 7. The online application can be accessed from the Ocean County website at www.co.ocean.nj.us and click on View Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program for program information and the application.
"This program has been set up to help only Ocean County residential renters and landlords," Quinn noted. "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."
The program is supported by the Ocean County Board of Commissioners and uses an $18 million grant from the Treasury Department to help residents catch up on back rent.
The maximum grant amount is $10,644 and will be paid directly to the landlord.
"It's paramount that we make every effort to help our residents maintain housing stability," Quinn said. "When you experience the concern about losing the roof over your head, it is difficult to keep on track with a daily routine.
"With so many families having children learn remotely and so many of our seniors living alone, the fear of losing your housing can be overwhelming," Quinn said. "This program will assist those who have fallen behind in their rent whether from loss of employment or getting sick from COVID 19."
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.
This grant program is not related to the current program being run by the state Department of Community Affairs.
Quinn noted that Ocean County residents can find preliminary information on the County website they can access to prepare for the application.
"We will continue to add information to the web page as we move closer to the application opening date," Quinn said.
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.
Income limits are listed on the web page.
"You will also need to provide a current lease/rental agreement and provide all required documents for your application to be considered complete," he 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 funds quickly, if approved.
"The funding is limited so we encourage our residents to apply early," he said.
"We will be announcing soon where help for filling out applications will be available.
"We are working with our human services and social services agencies with getting information out about this program," he said. "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."
He noted that landlords can 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.
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.