Christie Administration Extends Rental Assistance for up to an Additional Year for Homeowners in RREM and the LMI Homeowners Rebuilding Programs
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For Immediate Release: Contact:
March 3, 2016 Lisa Ryan
 

Christie Administration Extends Rental Assistance for up to an Additional Year for Homeowners in RREM and the LMI Homeowners Rebuilding Programs

Homeowners Can Now Receive An Additional 12 Months of Rental Assistance for a Total of 21 Months
 
TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) Board today voted to extend for up to an additional year temporary rental help under the Rental Assistance Program (RAP) available to Sandy-impacted homeowners who are paying rent while rebuilding their primary residences through the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program or the Low- to Moderate-Income (LMI) Homeowners Rebuilding Program.  Administered by the HMFA, RAP initially provided up to nine months of rental assistance, but now eligible applicants would be able to receive another 12 months of rental assistance for a total of 21 months.
 
“The state is taking positive steps to meet the ongoing need of homeowners in the RREM Program and LMI Program for temporary rental assistance as they complete the construction and, in many cases, elevation of their Sandy-damaged homes,” said Charles A. Richman, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and Chairman of the HMFA Board. The HMFA, which is an affiliated agency of DCA, administers the RAP Program.
 
“The Rental Assistance Program has made a tremendous difference in the lives of many Sandy survivors who are rebuilding their homes and couldn’t otherwise afford to pay for temporary housing while they are in construction,” Commissioner Richman said. “These families have come so far; additional rental assistance will go a long way in helping them cross the finish line and complete their projects.”
 
RAP provides up to $1,300 a month for homeowners in RREM or the LMI Program who have signed a grant agreement but who have not yet completed the construction or elevation of their home. The cap had been nine months of assistance, but today’s HMFA Board action extends the rental assistance by another 12 months for a maximum of 21 months for RREM and LMI Program participants who demonstrate an ongoing rental assistance need.
 
HMFA will contact all eligible RAP applicants that have already exhausted or will be exhausting all nine months of RAP assistance to inform them of the available extension and review process. While HMFA will work hard to streamline its outreach, intake, review and payment processing to begin making extension payments in April 2016, extension payments will begin no later than May 1, 2016. These payments will be for current and future rent payments only.
 
RAP is currently funded with $19.5 million in federal Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) Program monies, of which approximately $8.5 million has been disbursed. Anticipating that more money will be needed to fund rental assistance after SSBG dollars are spent, the State shortly will propose to transfer $12.5 million of Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to RAP. Additional details regarding the proposed funding transfer will be provided shortly when DCA opens the thirty-day public comment period on the proposed Substantial Amendment to its CDBG-DR Action Plan. The Amendment will be available at www.renewjerseystronger.org.
 
To date, through such initiatives as RAP, the Homeowner Resettlement Program, and the Sandy Homeowners and Renters Assistance Program (SHRAP), the State has allocated nearly $320 million for mortgage and rental assistance for people displaced by Sandy damage or reconstruction. These state programs are in addition to assistance that residents might have received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual Assistance Program.
 
More information about the Rental Assistance Program is available at www.njhousing.gov/homeownership/owners/ssbg/index.shtml