New Jersey Using $325 Million in Federal Money to Help Homeowners Pay ‘Housing Cost Delinquencies’

The Center Square
By The Center Square
January 26USshare
New Jersey Using $325 Million in Federal Money to Help Homeowners Pay ‘Housing Cost Delinquencies’
A newly sold home in Houston, on Aug. 12, 2021. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

New Jersey officials plan to use $325.9 million in federal Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) dollars to provide financial help and counseling for homeowners financially impacted by COVID-19.

The Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance Program (ERMA) provides up to $35,000 for homeowners to pay “housing cost delinquencies,” including mortgage arrearages and delinquent property taxes. The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) will administer the initiative.

New Jersey homeowners qualify for the ERMA program by demonstrating a COVID-19-related financial hardship after Jan. 20, 2020. Their income must be less than 150 percent of their Area Median Income (AMI).

“The ERMA program is designed to support as many vulnerable homeowners as possible in a meaningful and comprehensive way,” NJHMFA Executive Director Melanie R. Walter said in a statement.

“This robust program reflects the tireless work of staff, legislators, advocates, and federal partners over the past months to identify means to protect those in need across our State,” Walter added. “We know that NJHMFA and our housing counselor partners are poised to make a real difference in the lives of thousands of New Jersey families through this important work.”

ERMA will provide free housing counseling to help Garden State homeowners apply for help and guide them through the options. Counselors will also help New Jersey homeowners who do not have internet access.

The HAF is part of the American Rescue Plan lawmakers passed last year.

By T.A. DeFeo