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LIST OF NON-LEGAL & LEGAL RESOURCES RELATED TO COVID-19

Website at Legal Services of New Jersey on a variety of legal and non-legal assistance resources:  https://www.lsnjlaw.org/Health-Care/Coronavirus/Pages/default.aspx . [Including:  housing – evictions and foreclosures; consumer, credit and debt issues; family and relationships; jobs and employment; health; discrimination; schools and learning; military and veterans; taxes; Social Security Disability/SSI; Social Security; government aid and services; utilities, etc.]

COVID-19: RESIDENTIAL EVICTIONS: WHAT TENANTS NEED TO KNOW

As of September 2, 2020.  This document is for informational purposes only, is not intended as legal advice, and does not substitute for consulting with a lawyer about specific facts and circumstances.  This document does not constitute a solicitation, and your use of this document does not create any attorney-client relationship between you and Lowenstein Sandler. 

COVID-19:  RESIDENTIAL EVICTIONS: WHAT HOMEOWNERS NEED TO KNOW

As of August 6, 2020. This document is for informational purposes only, is not intended as legal advice, and does not substitute for consulting with a lawyer about specific facts and circumstances.  This document does not constitute a solicitation, and your use of this document does not create any attorney-client relationship between you and Lowenstein Sandler. 

STATE PROGRAMS FOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE DURING COVID-19

Three separate programs for housing assistance (below).  The application deadlines have ended; however, if you have applied and not heard from these State agencies, see below for contact information on following-up to ascertain the status of your eligibility.  (See Legal Services of N.J.’s website and the Lowenstein Sadler memorandas list of referrals (above) to consult a housing attorney should you be eligible for those legal services.)

PROGRAM #1 – Announcement date: October 4, 2020.  “THE COUNTY OF ESSEX ANNOUNCED A $5.5 MILLION CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM TO HELP ESSEX RESIDENTS PAY FOR RENTAL HOUSING”: Applications were accepted up to October 23rd.  This County program provided grants to help income-eligible residents pay their rent during the Coronavirus pandemic who are experiencing homelessness.  Although the application deadline has passed, if you applied as a tenant on time and have not heard from the County, contact Executive Director George Serio at 973-655-0200 and explained that you have applied and had not received a response.

On a separate note, Essex County already has an established program to assist homeowners who are having difficulty meeting their mortgage obligations. If a homeowner needs assistance, they can contact the East Orange Community Development Corporation at 973-266-5315 or the Montclair Salvation Army at 973-744-3312.

PROGRAM #2 – Announcement date: October 16th – COVID-19 N.J. Dept. of Human Services “COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program” – Original notice: https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/news/pressreleases/2020/approved/20201009.html .  Within two days that DHS issued this statement suspending the program due to high volume: https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/covid19housingassistance/index.shtml  . That latter notice said: “DHS is suspending applications for the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program as it reviews the substantial amount of applications received in the past few days. If you submitted an application, please know our team is reviewing all applications and an eligibility worker will be in touch with you regarding next steps. We will consider applications by the order they were received and until funding is exhausted.”  If you submitted an application and have heard nothing from DHS, consider contacting it at its Division of Family Development (DFD), 1-800-792-9773.

PROGRAM #3 – Announcement date: September 29, 2020 – “NJHMFA Expands Its Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program to Assist More New Jersey Families Struggling to Pay Rent Due to COVID-19.”  Program description:   https://www.nj.gov/dca/hmfa/rentals/sleg2/index.shtml .  Application deadline was October 23nd.  If you applied for this description, but have not heard from this agency, contact it at toll-free hotline at 866-280-9756 or email sleg@njhmfa.gov. [This program has been the subject of an article critical of NJHMFA’s administration of the program:  By Ashley Balcerzak, NorthJersey.com, Nov. 24, 2020, updated Nov. 27, 2020: https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2020/11/24/nj-rent-relief-doing-enough-help-struggling-small-landlords/6340906002/ .]

Presidential & Congressional Action Needed to Address the Shortfall in Funds for Vulnerable Tenants & Homeowners

State funds alone, are insufficient to meet the needs for back rent for tenants and financial relief for residential homeowners.  See the attached appeal from the United States Conference of Bishops and Catholic Charities, USA who were signatories to a letter, dated September 25, 2020, to the president and leadership of the U.S. Congress, asking them to come to terms on the CARES and HEROES bill that has not as yet been enacted into law, and that would provide this relief and assistance to other victims as well as organizations such as Catholic Charities whose relief funds are dwindling in service to the vulnerable:  https://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/2020.09.24-Joint-catholic-org-letter-covid-supplemental_.pdf

Portion of letter:

Millions of American families face uncertainty as unemployment support expires, employer-provided health insurance is lost, missed rent and mortgage payments pile up, food insecurity deepens, and schools struggle. This uncertainty is compounded by the pandemic-related financial challenges faced by charities, hospitals, parishes, schools, universities and the social safety net.

Now is the time for our nation’s leaders to do their part to support those in need. While we understand there are differences on how to proceed on the COVID-19 stimulus bill, the many needs of the present situation cry out for relief. Doing nothing or delaying only ensures more people will suffer. We therefore urge you to put aside partisan politics and prioritize human life and the common good by expediting negotiations to ensure not another day is lost in providing security and hope to people in need at home and abroad. [Emphasis added.]

Here is the USCCB’s recommended quick way for you to contact the president and members of the U.S. Congress and to add a few of your own words, should you want, to the USCCB’s recommended advocacy template: https://www.votervoice.net/USCCB/Campaigns/78427/Respond