Congressman welcomes funds to combat homelessness in Monmouth County

An additional $1.7 million in emergency federal funding has been awarded to Monmouth County to provide shelter and/or rental assistance for homeless families and individuals during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) announced.

The funding comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act which Smith supported and which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27, according to a press release.

“This federal grant will give more people access to subsidized housing as we battle through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Smith said. “Homeless individuals are among the most at-risk for transmission of coronavirus. This funding is targeted to support homeless families and individuals in Monmouth County who have been affected by COVID-19.”

The $1.7 million provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program will focus on communities with significant homeless populations, both sheltered and unsheltered, and those at the most risk for homelessness, according to the press release.

It also takes into account economic and housing market conditions by making a modest adjustment for jurisdictions with very high market rents, such as Monmouth County.

“Monmouth County will use this emergency funding for rapid rehousing of homeless residents and rental assistance in collaboration with nonprofit homeless assistance organizations.

“The partnership between the federal, county and nonprofit entities stretches the funding further and enhances the impact of homeless prevention and response programs to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19,” the congressman added.

The economic devastation brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak has increased the need for rental assistance in Monmouth County and the federal program is designed to help fill a gap as officials look to reopen the economy and people go back to work, Smith said.