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Senate Passes Stack, Sweeney, Corrado Bill to Establish the Temporary Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Trenton – Legislation for a $100 million appropriation to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to establish the Temporary Emergency Rental Assistance Program, was passed by the Senate today. The program will assist residential tenants who have suffered an income loss due to the COVID-19 crisis. The legislation is sponsored by Senator Brian Stack, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Kristen Corrado.

“Many people in New Jersey are renters, and are unfortunately, not receiving direct help from their landlords. This is why the State has to step in and provide the assistance they desperately need,” said Senator Stack (D-Hudson). “New Jersey has struggled through recovery since the Recession, and our housing market truly never recovered. Our families cannot afford to lose their homes after so many suffered that fate more than 10 years ago.”

“New Jersey, and the entire country, are in the midst of a significant economic crisis that is effecting the lives of everyone in this state,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “It is imperative we help those who have unfortunately lived pay check to check and now have lost most if not all of their financial footing.”

“We must make it a priority during this pandemic to ensure that struggling New Jerseyans can keep a roof over their heads,” said Senator Corrado (R-Bergen/Essex/Morris/Passaic). “Emergency housing assistance is coming for low-income residents who are having difficulty making ends meet. By funding this emergency grant program, we will allow eligible renters to breathe a sigh of relief.” 

The bill, S-2332, would require the Commissioner of Community Affairs to administer the program by modifying the “Homeless Prevention Program Regulations” by no longer requiring a person or household to be deemed to be in imminent danger of homelessness if the household is unable to make rental payments for reasons attributable to the COVID-19 crisis. This would also extend to a person or household to be eligible for assistance under this program without being served with a summons and complaint for eviction. The bill would also expand the eligibility requirements to include medium-income households, which refers to persons and households with 81%-120% of the Area Median Income.