The state has extended its pre-application period for COVID-19 rental assistance for low to moderate-income households, which will now run through July 17.

The application period for the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program offered through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs is now open. The pre-application period was originally set to end on July 10.

The program will provide rental assistance to low and moderate-income households that have had a substantial reduction in income as a result of the pandemic, including those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Pre-applications for the program received from July 6 to July 17 will be entered into an online lottery.

With the application period now open, households may submit pre-applications. Participants will be selected from the overall pool of applicants through a randomized process based on eligibility and the lottery criteria.

Applicants may be eligible for up to a maximum of six months of emergency rental assistance, however completion of the pre-application does not guarantee placement in the COVID-19 ERAP.

Those selected for the program must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a gross, annual household income that is at or below the maximum income limits for the county where they are residing
    • Mercer County maximum income limits:
      • One person household – $54,950
      • Two person household – $62,800
      • Three person household – $70,650
      • Four person household – $78,500
      • Five person household – $84,800
      • Six person household – $91,100
      • Seven person household – $97,350
      • Eight person household – $103,650
  • Be a New Jersey resident and rent a unit in New Jersey
  • Rent must be current as of March 2020; this program will not assist with arrears
  • Have a substantial reduction in income or are currently receiving unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Have a lack of assets and savings to pay rent
  • Will pay a minimum of 30% of their income towards the rent
  • Anyone currently receiving a subsidy from another rental assistance program or living in public housing is ineligible

Qualifying households will be expected to pay 30% of their income toward rent, and the program will pay the remainder of their rent up to a cap. At the three-month mark, the household’s budget will be reviewed to determine if assistance is still needed. Assistance that is no longer necessary will be used to serve additional families.

For more information about the program and eligibility requirements, visit the DCA website.