(Fran Baltzer for New Jersey Monitor)
Fewer than 5% of the roughly 86,000 people who applied for a slice of the state’s rental assistance program will receive aid, according to the state Department of Community Affairs.
The rental assistance program will accept just 4,000 households — 1,000 in each category of disabled, family, unhoused, and elderly households. The awards will be random, and applicants who are selected will be put on a waitlist, said Lisa Ryan, spokesperson for the Department of Community Affairs.
The housing program subsidizes rent for households with very low incomes, meaning people making less than 30% of their county’s median family income. Participants who receive housing vouchers must contribute 25% to 40% of their income toward rent, and the state program will cover the rest.
The program reopens once every three to four years.
The rush of people who applied during the two weeks applications were open underscores the need for more housing assistance and affordable housing options, state officials said.
“We are aware of the critical need for affordable housing in New Jersey and remain committed to investing in programs that help to make New Jersey more affordable to live and raise a family,” Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver said in a statement earlier this month.
During the pandemic, the Department of Community Affairs disbursed more than $625 million in federal emergency rental assistance to families in arrearages because of financial burdens caused by the health crisis.
Aside from rental assistance, the state also offers eviction protections for nonpayment of rent to households who were also financially impacted by the pandemic between March 2020 and Aug. 31, 2021 (or Dec. 31, 2021, depending on your income). People must send in a self-certification form in order to receive protections.
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