(NEWARK, NJ) -- Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced on January 26 that Newark has been awarded $8.4 million from the federal government to help struggling residents pay for housing and utility costs. These funds come from the most current stimulus package passed at the end of December 2020.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance program makes available $25 billion nationally to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to COVID-19. The program is intended to help keep low-income families from becoming homeless.
“These funds are important to Newark,” said Mayor Baraka. “Once the eviction moratorium is lifted, we could see a disaster for families that have lost income due to the pandemic as well as landlords that are faced with financial ruin. A surge in evictions and homelessness must be avoided at all costs. It is critical that this $8.4 million be only a down payment on a much larger federal eviction prevention program to be passed under the new $1.9 trillion stimulus program proposed by President Biden.”
“We expect to use this new federal funding to expand Newark’s existing tenant protection programs to help more renters and to help them for a longer period of time,” said Allison Ladd, Deputy Mayor and Director of Economic and Housing Development. “We will work closely with our Municipal Council to get these funds into the hands of those in need as quickly as possible.”
Under this program, not less than 90 percent of the awarded funds must be used for direct financial assistance, including rent, rental arrears, and utilities. Remaining funds are available for housing stability services, including case management and other services intended to help prevent evictions.
An eligible family would meet the following criteria:
* Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19.
* Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
* Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median.
* Eligible households that include an individual who has been unemployed for the 90 days prior to their application will be prioritized.
* Families already receiving rental assistance through other programs would not be eligible.