Ocean County residents struggling to pay their rent and possibly facing eviction are urged to apply for the Ocean County Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
“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 Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn. “I strongly encourage any of our residents or landlords who have been adversely affected financially by the coronavirus to take advantage of this program which is funded by the CARES Act and supported by the Ocean County Board of Commissioners.”
The Ocean County Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program now 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.
“The amounts have been increased to meet the needs of our residents and landlords,” Quinn said. “It’s for those households that have qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Median income requirements must also be met.
“We have received over 1,100 applications so far,” Quinn said. “The Commissioners appropriated $18 million for this assistance and we continue to accept applications.”
Find the application on the Ocean County website
The application is accessible from the Ocean County website at www.co.ocean.nj.us and click on the link to the Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This takes you to important information on the grant program including the documents needed, eligibility requirements, where to find case managers and the actual application.
“As critical dates approach for the lifting of moratoriums on evictions, now more than ever, this grant program, could serve as a true lifeline,” Quinn said. “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. 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,” Quinn said.
Landlord’s participation required
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.
“We know that the last 16 months has 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 assist their landlords who could be struggling to do the same.
“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 out of work, the fear of losing your housing is 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.
Quinn 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.
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.