This is a press release from Essex County. Press releases are official statements that have not been independently verified.

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that Essex County is accepting applications for the 2021 Essex County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Renters and landlords who have been negatively impacted during the Coronavirus pandemic and need help to pay rent or utility bills can apply for funding. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Residents and landlords can apply online at EssexRent.org. Applications also are available through the following community agencies:

* Irvington Neighborhood Improvement Corporation, 346 16th Avenue, Irvington; 973-416-0916
* New Jersey Shares, Inc., 4 Walter E. Foran Blvd., Suite 105, Flemington; 609-883-1460
* Newark Emergency for Families, 982 Broad Street, Newark; 973-639-2100
* Montclair Salvation Army, 13 Trinity Place, Montclair; 973-744-3312
* YMCA Newark Vicinity, 600 Broad Street, Newark; 973-624-8900

“The pandemic created financially challenging and difficult times for individuals and families who experienced a loss of income or loss of employment. Our Emergency Rental Assistance Program will help eligible residents and families catch up on their rent or utility arrears or pay their rent and/or utility bills prospectively. This ultimately will prevent individuals and families from getting evicted from their housing and becoming homeless,” DiVincenzo said.

Those eligible to apply include individuals or families impacted by COVID-19 through unemployment, decrease in household income or confronted with some other financial hardship. Tenants and landlords are eligible to apply; landlords would be applying on behalf of their tenants. To be eligible, the income of applicants must be at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) set by HUD.

Information requested of the applicants will include identification for the head of household, income information for all those in the household who are older than 18, a copy of the lease, information about the landlord, and information about the rent and utility payments that are in arears (unpaid). Residents of Section 8 or public housing may be eligible to receive assistance for costs not covered by federal assistance and for the tenant’s portion of the rent or utility bills.

The 2021 Essex County Emergency Rental Assistance Program is being funded by the U.S. Department of Treasury as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

This is the latest public assistance program initiated by Essex County to help residents and small businesses during the pandemic. Essex County has offered two programs that helped small businesses pay for expenses, payroll and leases, a rental assistance program for individuals and families, and a mortgage assistance program for homeowners.