In an effort to ensure that as many eligible Sandy-impacted families as possible receive housing recovery assistance, the Christie Administration announced it is extending the application deadline for its new housing recovery programs. Eligible low- to moderate-income (LMI) households now have until March 20th to apply for the LMI Homeowners Rebuilding Program and April 6th to apply for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program.

  

The initial application deadline for the LMI Homeowners Rebuilding Program and Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Program had been March 4. If any eligible households have questions or need assistance in applying to the program, Sandy Recovery Housing Counseling services are available for free.

 

The LMI Homeowners Rebuilding Program provides reconstruction, rehabilitation and elevation assistance to Sandy-impacted homeowners of limited financial means whose storm-damaged primary residence is located in one of the nine most impacted counties as determined by the federal government. The program aims to provide assistance to those LMI homeowners who did not apply to the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation (RREM) Program, and includes a portion of funding specifically set aside for owners of manufactured housing units/mobile homes, who are strongly encouraged to apply.

 

The Christie Administration is working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to ensure the program effectively assists Sandy-impacted homeowners of manufactured/mobile homes. Therefore, they should apply by the extended deadline to make sure they are considered for funding.

 

Homeowners must qualify as low- to moderate-income based on their household adjusted gross annual income at the time they submit an application. For more information, including a chart providing the income limits that apply to the program, people can visit http://www.renewjerseystronger.org/homeowners/lmi-homeowners-rebuilding-program/.

 

The Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Program provides short-term, tenant-based rental assistance in the form of a voucher to assist eligible low- and moderate-income households with their rent in the nine counties most impacted by Superstorm Sandy. The tenant-based rental assistance will be for 12 months with an option to renew for up to an additional 12 months. No extensions beyond 24 months can be granted.

 

Tenants must qualify as low- to moderate-income, which means their household gross income must be at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income for their county. The income limits are established by household size and are revised annually by HUD. For more information, including a chart providing the income limits that apply to the program, visit: http://www.renewjerseystronger.org/renters/sandy-tenant-based-rental-assistance-program/.

 

In support of the LMI and TBRA programs, the DCA since December has carried out comprehensive outreach and marketing efforts to inform low- to moderate-income and limited English proficiency (LEP) families who were impacted by Superstorm Sandy about the housing recovery assistance available. From door-to-door canvassing, community events and meeting presentations to advertisements on radio, cable TV, websites, mobile devices, social media, movie screens, billboards and bus shelters, overwhelming progress has been made in reaching Sandy-affected households of limited financial means who may have limited proficiency in English. Approximately, 92,500 individuals have been reached in the outreach campaign and the paid media marketing campaign has garnered more than 29 million impressions (the potential time an advertisement was viewed by an individual).

 

To help storm-affected families better navigate their unique housing recovery situation, the Administration in December also started the Sandy Recovery Housing Counseling Program to offer free, HUD-certified housing counseling services. Offices are located in each of the nine Sandy-impacted counties and provide counseling programs that address a wide range of financial and housing challenges.

 

Housing counselors provide helpful information about programs and resources that are available to renters and homeowners who are still recovering from Superstorm Sandy. As part of the counseling process, counselors will ask questions and collect information from clients to develop a customized counseling plan specific to the needs of the renter or homeowner. The counseling plan may include individualized or group counseling services in the following areas:

 

  • Foreclosure Prevention
  • Homelessness Prevention
  • Fair Housing Education
  • Reverse Mortgage/Home Equity Conversion Mortgage
  • Rental Counseling
  • Pre/Post Home Purchase Counseling

 

Housing counselors can also help renters and homeowners complete and submit applications to State-funded recovery programs and services, answer questions about the application process and obligations for program participation, and refer clients to other applicable State-funded recovery resources for which they may be eligible. As part of the counseling plan, counselors will schedule regular meetings, share information about upcoming events or information sessions, and provide supportive services to eligible program applicants.

 

To be eligible for free counseling services, renters and homeowners must have been impacted by Sandy and lived in one of the nine counties most affected by the storm at the time of Sandy.

 

Additional information, including the organizations providing the counseling services and locations, can be obtained at: http://www.renewjerseystronger.org/homeowners/sandy-recovery-housing-counseling-program/

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