By: Follow South Jersey Staff
SOUTH JERSEY – The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) will begin administering the new Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance Program (ERMA), a program that will provide up to $35,000 in assistance to cover mortgage arrearages, delinquent property taxes, and other housing cost delinquencies for eligible homeowners negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the state, New Jersey’s program utilizes $325.9 million of federal Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) money and is expected to help thousands of families get back on their feet, stabilizing New Jersey’s most at-risk communities.
Foreclosures negatively impact not only the homeowners, but the surrounding properties in their neighborhoods and hurt their larger community, the state said in a press release from the NJ Department of Community Affairs.
“We are pleased to announce this new program that will alleviate COVID-19 related housing insecurity for thousands of New Jersey families,” Murphy stated. “ERMA is a powerful addition to our portfolio of measures to prevent foreclosures and help New Jersey homeowners stay in their homes.”
ERMA will also provide free housing counseling services to help New Jersey homeowners apply for this program, guide them through all available options, and even work with their loan servicers to achieve the best outcome available for their family. These counselors will also ensure that the process is accessible to those without access to the internet or those having difficulties navigating the process.
“Hardworking South Jersey residents whose lives were upended by COVID deserve to keep roofs over their heads,” said Congressman Donald Norcross. “I will continue advocating for South Jersey families in Congress, ensuring they can access the programs and services they need as we continue to weather the pandemic together.”
Lt. Governor Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs and Chair of the NJHMFA board, encouraged those who need assistance to apply.
“Working families have faced unprecedented burdens over the last two years,” Oliver said. “If you are struggling to pay your mortgage or other homeowner-associated obligations, the ERMA program can help you get back on your feet.”
In December, New Jersey’s ERMA program became one of the earliest HAF plans to receive United States Department of Treasury approval to launch. The program is financed through the federal Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
“The launch of the New Jersey HMFA Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance Program is coming at a critical time as we continue to confront the dual challenges of the omicron variant and the unprecedented economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. “Thousands of hardworking New Jersey families are struggling to keep a roof over their head and this program will provide the necessary lifeline to avoid foreclosure and keep them in their homes. Homeownership is critical to stabilizing neighborhoods and building strong communities and I am proud to have worked on securing this vital funding through the American Rescue Plan for New Jersey families.”
To qualify for the ERMA program, homeowners must meet the following requirements:
- Be a New Jersey homeowner with a demonstrated COVID-19-related financial hardship occurring after January 20, 2020;
- Own and occupy an eligible primary residence;
- Have an income below 150% of their Area Median Income (AMI).
- NJHMFA will provide the centralized application intake platform, eligibility review, and payment of assistance, which will be made directly to the servicer.
ERMA applications can be submitted using a personal computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Housing counselors are available to assist homeowners that need help completing the application or understanding all available options.
The ERMA application portal will open for applications at: www.njerma.com on February 8, 2022 at 9AM.
Those unsure of their eligibility or need accommodations due to disabilities, can call 855-647-7700 to be put in touch with a housing counselor who can help guide them through the process and understand their options.
Visit www.njhousing.gov/dca/hmfa/covid19/haf to review program eligibility and sign up for program updates.
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