Ocean County to offer thousands in grants to residents to help pay back rent
More than 3,000 households in Ocean County face eviction in the months after an end to New Jersey’s state of emergency. Wochit
TOMS RIVER - More than 3,000 households in Ocean County face eviction in the months after an end to New Jersey’s COVID-19 state of emergency, said county Director Gary Quinn.
Under an executive order signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, New Jersey has had an eviction moratorium in place since March 2020. That means that renters can’t be forced out of their homes for not paying rent for as long as the state is under the current public health emergency. Landlords can still file for evictions, but tenants cannot be made to leave for at least two months after the emergency is declared over, except in rare cases.
Quinn is so worried about the potential impact, he has even been making the case that the five-member all-Republican Board of Commissioners must end its long-standing opposition to a public homeless shelter.
The director said he supports a county-administered homeless trust fund, as the state allows, which would direct the Ocean County Clerk’s Office to levy a $3 surcharge on public fees for each housing-related document recorded with the county.
This Wednesday, Quinn will launch the Ocean County Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which will release a total of $18 million available to the county from the U.S. Treasury Department. For those who qualify, a maximum grant of $10,644 per household will be paid directly to their landlords — for up to six months in back rent.
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The county will accept applications for the program on Wednesday. The online application can be accessed from the Ocean County website at www.co.ocean.nj.us where those interested can click on View Residential Emergency Rental Assistance Program for information about the program and to access the application. Landlords can also apply on behalf of their renters.
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“The purpose of the program is to try to help low- and moderate-income residents that live in the county, who are behind on their rent strictly due to situations that they were put in by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Quinn said.
Only renters or their landlords are eligible to participate in the program, Quinn said.
“The reality is, right now, we’re looking at over 3,000 evictions that are in the pipeline here in the (Ocean County) court system,” Quinn said. “And we’re trying to offset a lot of that from happening with the pandemic coming to a close.”
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Help will also be available through a call center for the program, effective Monday. The number is 833-753-9671.
Erik Larsen: 732-682-9359 or email@example.com