The Burlington County Commissioners announced a new program to assist county homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Burlington County CARES Act program funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is designed to provide income-eligible residents with documented financial hardships up to six months of mortgage and/or utility assistance.
“From the earliest days of the pandemic, Burlington County has sought funding and created programs to provide our residents with as much assistance as possible,” Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson said in a prepared statement. “We’ve made substantial strides since last year, but we know there are still a significant number of homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgages, utilities or rent because of the pandemic and its wide-ranging impacts. We are pleased that this new program will help residents to remain in their homes.”
Mortgage relief has been identified as a pressing need in the community, and Burlington County’s program can provide eligible homeowners with up to six months of assistance for outstanding or upcoming mortgage payments (including property taxes), according to the statement.
Utility support is also available from the new Burlington County CARES Act program, as is a combination of both mortgage and utility help.
To be eligible, homeowners must reside at the property and meet household income limits, ranging from $52,950 for a single resident, $75,600 for a family of four and $99,800 for a family of eight or more people.
Applications are being considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested homeowners must submit a preliminary application online at www.tfaforms.com/4913684.
The new assistance is funded with $1.2 million in grant funding awarded to Burlington County from last year’s federal CARES Act.
Community Grants, Planning & Housing, a Cranbury-based firm specializing in affordable housing and home improvement programs and grants, is working with the County to process applications for mortgage and utility assistance.
Rental assistance also remains available for Burlington County renters from the county’s partnership with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the New Jersey Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
The program is administered statewide by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and provides up to 12 months of back rent owed to future rent to renters with documented income losses related to the pandemic.
While the program is statewide, Burlington County contributed $13 million of its federal COVID-19 funding to the program on the condition that the money be reserved solely for Burlington County renters, according to the statement.
To date, more than 700 Burlington County households have received over $4.8 million in assistance.
“Our partnership with the State of New Jersey to provide rental assistance got off to a great start, but we know there are thousands of families in our county who need help,” Hopson said in the statement. “We’re encouraging those who are behind on rent, mortgage payments or utility bills to apply today. We want everyone in our county to make it to the other side of this pandemic with their homes and household finances intact.”
Renters and homeowners are currently protected from eviction or foreclosure until Jan. 1, 2022, but officials noted that the state’s moratorium does not prevent back rent or mortgage payments from accruing.
“We’re making assistance available right now so that homeowners and tenants can get help paying the rent or mortgages they owe before the moratorium expires,” Hopson said in the statement. “We don’t want to survive the pandemic only to face a massive housing crisis, so we need those families in need to make an application for help right away.”
Burlington County residents with questions about the mortgage and utility assistance program or application can call a program representative at 609-642-9213, ext. 58 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.