Updated Jul 01, 2021; Posted Jul 01, 2021
Newark officials on Wednesday announced $14 million in federal coronavirus funding will be used for residents to pay up to 15 months in future or arrears rent, and in some cases, utility payments.
Property owners are encouraged to pre-register once landlord registration opens July 19 online to receive direct payments on behalf of approved tenants. Newark renters will be able to apply for the program once the tenant application opens July 26.
This will be the third round of the city’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Mayor Ras Baraka expects the Emergency Rental Assistance Programs will help more than 6,000 Newark residents to remain in their homes and avoid crushing debt that can lead to evictions.
“COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, shining a light on long-term economic inequalities and causing acute short-term needs – like keeping current with rent while struggling with job losses or reduced hours,” said Baraka in a statement.
The announcement comes as state lawmakers work on a bill to end the eviction moratorium.
Applicants who have been unemployed for more than 90 days or have a household income at or below 50% of the area median income will be prioritized. Generally, a family of four with a household income of less than $53,700 would qualify as 50% of the area median income, according to a federal calculator.
To receive assistance, applicants must:
- Be a Newark resident.
- Have a 2020 household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) in Newark.
- Either qualify for unemployment or have experienced a reduction in household income due to COVID-19.
- Be currently responsible for paying rent at their primary residence.
- Be currently responsible for paying utilities for their primary residence (unless utilities are included in their rent)
The past two rounds of the program helped more than 1,900 Newark households stay in their homes during the pandemic, city officials said. Those rounds were funded by the federal CARES Act.
This latest round of rental assistance is funded by the federal American Rescue Plan.
Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consulting firm that works with cities and mayors around the world, worked with Newark across all three funding rounds to identify gaps in assistance. The city also worked with Ernst-Young in partnership with Microsoft to provide a more user-friendly application portal.
The program is being administered by the Newark Economic and Housing Development Department. The department’s director, Allison Ladd, said city officials have enhanced the program after the last two rounds.
“We can now provide rental assistance directly to tenants, enabling applicants who live in buildings where a landlord has not registered for the program to receive assistance,” Ladd said in a statement, “and we have made the application process more user-friendly.”
The city will partner with local community-based organizations to provide more outreach and application support to tenants who may not have internet access, speak a language other than English or have disabilities.
Last week, the city announced it would use federal dollars for an $8.8 million small business relief plan. Additional programs will be launching in the upcoming weeks.
Additional details about the rent assistance program can be found at www.NewarkCOVID19.com.
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