In Our Community

FEMA Funeral Assistance Applications Begins April 12th Inbox

FEMA will be offering financial assistance for funeral expenses to families who have lost someone due to the pandemic.  Beginning April 12th, FEMA will accept applications from those who would like to apply for financial assistance.  Below, please find important information about eligibility requirements and how to apply:

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number

Applications begin on April 12, 2021
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time

Effective April 19th ALL NJ 16+ Eligible For The Vaccine

Today, Governor Murphy announced that beginning April 19th, all 16+ will be eligible for the vaccine. You can find a vaccination site here: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/covid-19-vaccine-locations-for-eligible-recipients

 

MORIARTY BILL TO REQUIRE DEALERS TO PAY OFF CONSUMER DEBT ON A TRADE VEHICLE WITHIN 15 DAYS APPROVED BY ASSEMBLY

To avoid leaving customers on the hook for thousands of dollars and potentially having their credit score damaged, dealerships would be required to resolve a customer’s trade-in loan within 15 days of accepting the trade-in under a measure sponsored by Assembly members Paul Moriarty (D- Camden, Gloucester) and Annette Quijano (D-Hudson).

The bill passed the full Assembly, 72-0, on Thursday.

The impetus for the bill came from an ABC’s “7 On Your Side” story featuring two consumers who were saddled with a combined $32,093.77 in debt after their dealers defaulted on their trade-in loans instead of making the payouts.

“Consumers deserve better protection from dealers who refuse to pay off their car loan as promised,” said Moriarty. “A customer goes into a dealership, conducts a proper transaction and rides out with a brand new car believing the dealer will hold up their end of the bargain. A few months down the line, the buyer finds out the loan has not been paid and now they are responsible for two car payments. It’s unfair and, quite frankly, bad business.”

The bill (A-1483), which has the support of both consumers and the industry, would also require the dealer to provide proof of the payment to the customer upon request. A dealer who violates these provisions is subject to a penalty of up to $1,000 for the first offense and up to $2,000 for each subsequent offense.

The measure will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program Phase 2 – Application Period Begins March 22

Murphy Administration Announces Second Phase of Rental Assistance Program for New Jersey Residents Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic

Program Devotes Approximately $353 Million to Help Low- to Moderate-Income Households, Including the Homeless

Recognizing that New Jersey residents continue to need rental assistance during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Murphy Administration today announced that the application period for a second phase of the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will open on March 22, 2021. The federally-funded program will provide approximately $353 million in rental assistance to low- and moderate-income households that have had a substantial reduction in income as a result of the pandemic, including those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

More than 15,000 households benefitted from the first phase of the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program that was launched in July 2020 in response to the pandemic. The Administration was able to help 7,000 more households than originally anticipated with the $91.75 million allocated in the program’s first phase.

Applicants for the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program Phase II (CVERAP Phase II) may be eligible for up to 12 months of rental assistance to help pay for rent arrears incurred after March 13, 2020, and future rent to the extent that funds are available. Households that already received assistance in Phase I of the program but need additional rent support and have not yet received the maximum 12 months of emergency rental assistance (including CVERAP Phase I) can apply for additional funding.

Every three months, the applicant’s household income and COVID-19 impact will be reviewed to determine if assistance is still needed and then recertified. If deemed eligible, applicants may only receive a maximum of three months of assistance at each recertification for future rent payments. Assistance that is no longer required will be used to serve additional families.

The application period will remain open until an adequate number of applications have been received to distribute the approximately $353 million allocated to the program. A notice will be published to inform the public in advance when the application period will close. Participants will be selected from the overall pool of applicants through a randomized process based on eligibility and lottery criteria.

An applicant may qualify for the assistance based on the following requirements:

· Is a New Jersey resident 18 years of age or older;

· Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic;

· Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and

· Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income. Maximum income limits can be found online at https://www.nj.gov/dca/cverap2.shtml.

As part of the landlord contract, DCA will encourage landlords to agree to a reasonable payment plan for any rent arrears not covered by the rental assistance and commit to not filing for eviction for non-payment of rent during the term of the assistance.

Also, property managers or owners of a residential dwelling may apply for assistance on behalf of a tenant. The landlord must:

· Obtain the signature of the tenant on the application, which may be documented electronically; and

· Must provide documentation of the application to the tenant to notify the tenant that the application has been submitted.

DCA will provide the centralized application intake, eligibility review, and payment of assistance, which will be made directly to participants’ landlords. DCA has authorized Nan McKay & Associates to help administer the program and to communicate with applicants and landlords.

CVERAP Phase II applications can be submitted online starting at 9 a.m. on March 22 with the use of a personal computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet at https://njdca.onlinepha.com.

DCA will extend reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis to disabled individuals and people who have limited English proficiency. The Department will take into consideration the disability and the needs of households without internet access. Applicants seeking accommodations may contact DCA’s Applicant Services at (609) 490-4550 for assistance during the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week during the open enrollment period.

Submission of a CVERAP Phase II application does not guarantee placement in the program. Only one CVERAP Phase II application per household will be accepted. Duplicate CVERAP Phase II applications will be rejected.

Additional information about the program, available in multiple languages, can be found online at https://www.nj.gov/dca/cverap2.shtml on the DCA website.

The program will also help provide households that are very low income and homeless with six months of future rent. Additionally, it will assist in paying for security deposits and case management for homeless households to help them bridge to more sustainable support by the end of the six months of rental assistance. These households will be selected by DCA through the Coordinated Entry process in each county’s Homeless Management Information System.

For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media: https://m.facebook.com/NJDeptofCommunityAffairs/

COMMITTEE ADVANCES MOSQUERA BILL ADDRESSING COUNSELING FOR CHILDREN WHO WITNESS OR ARE PRESENT FOR ACTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera

In recognition of the psychological impact domestic violence can have on children who are present for or witness the act, Assembly Democrats Angela McKnight, Annette Chaparro and Gabriela Mosquera sponsor a bill to notify parents about counseling opportunities for these children and provide further protections for them.

Around 80 percent of all domestic assaults are witnessed by minors. Intimate partner violence not only harms the victimized adult, but has a remarkably negative impact on children who are present for the abuse.

Current law already requires victims and abusers to be notified of any programs/services that can offer counseling and advice. The bill (A-1736) requires the adults to be notified of available counseling for their child as well, if the child was physically present for or heard/saw the act of domestic violence.

Judges may also choose to mandate counseling when determining what relief to grant victims in domestic violence hearings.

Upon the measure being advanced by the Assembly Women and Children Committee on Monday, Assembly sponsors McKnight, Chaparro (both D-Hudson) and Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester) issued the following joint statement:

“Even when children are not a direct victim of physical abuse, witnessing domestic violence in their home can have serious short and long-term effects on their psychosocial development. Fear, shame, sadness, guilt and anger can build up and overwhelm children who were present for such terrifying situations.

“Counselors can help these children process their traumatic experiences and work through the challenging emotions associated with domestic violence. Making sure parents are aware of available programs and services will ensure more children throughout our state receive the help they need after witnessing domestic violence.”

COMMITTEE ADVANCES MOSQUERA LEGISLATION ESTABLISHING COMMUNITY INTEGRATION PROGRAM FOR CERTAIN VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE

To help victims of domestic violence who have been imprisoned solely for crimes against their abuser, Assembly Democrats Gordon Johnson, Gabriela Mosquera and Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsor a bill that would establish a community integration program for these individuals. The legislation was advanced by the Assembly Women and Children Committee on Monday.

Under the bill (A-720/S-381), a supervised community reintegration program would be established within the Department of Corrections to help foster the reintegration of inmates convicted of a crime against their abuser, who present a low risk of re-offense and have documented evidence of pre-existing abuse.

Inmates approved for the program would receive rehabilitative services and then gradually transition to supervision within the community – such as participating in a work release program.

“Often when a victim uses force against their abuser, they were trying to defend themselves, escape the abuse or reclaim their sense of self, which are all understandable motives,” said Assemblywoman Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). “Once victims are removed from that dangerous situation, they have no reason to harm anyone else. They deserve the opportunity to move on from their experiences and return to society with careful guidance.”

Inmates who wish to participate in this program would apply to the Department of Corrections. The department would review information about the applicant, including a psychological evaluation, objective risk assessment, evidence of abuse and summary of the crime in order to determine eligibility.

The legislation now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.