NJ Citizen Action Launches Free Counseling Services for COVID-19 Homeowner Assistance

NJ Citizen Action Launches Free Counseling Services for COVID-19 Homeowner Assistance

Newark – February 8, 2022 – Today, leading state advocacy and empowerment organization New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) launched free one-on-one counseling for homeowners who are struggling financially and have fallen behind on mortgage payments due to the pandemic. The launch coincides with the start of the NJ Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) program, which began accepting applications the same day.

As part of its free foreclosure prevention counseling services, NJCA’s HUD-certified housing counselors will work with homeowners to determine what options are available to them, and connect those who are eligible to the ERMA program. New Jersey residents can qualify for up to $35,000 in assistance to cover mortgage arrears and other housing cost delinquencies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout.

“We’re here to help New Jerseyans struggling to keep their homes navigate the application process and get the help they need,” said Bonita Holmes, NJCA Director of Housing Counseling & Loss Mitigation. “If you are a homeowner protected by the foreclosure moratorium before it ended on November 15th, please reach out to NJ Citizen Action by phone or complete an application for housing counseling to see if you are eligible for assistance funds.”

To qualify for the ERMA program, applicants must 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, and have an income at or below 150% of their county’s Area Median Income (AMI). Funding for ERMA comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, which was enacted on March 11, 2021.

“Homeowner and rental assistance are key tools New Jersey needs to meaningfully recover from the pandemic’s fallout,” said Beverly Brown Ruggia, NJCA Financial Justice Program Director. “With these funds we can avert a wave of foreclosures, which would have a devastating effect on thousands of New Jersey families and the state economy overall.”

For more information about NJCA’s free foreclosure counseling services, NJ residents can complete an application for assistance online at https://njcanewark.force.com/nwcompass, or call NJCA at (973) 643-8800, x210. Counseling services are available to homeowners across the state and are provided in English and Spanish. Due to the pandemic, services are currently provided virtually and by phone.

New Jersey Citizen Action is a statewide advocacy and empowerment organization that advances social, racial and economic justice for all, while also meeting the pressing needs of low- and moderate-income New Jerseyans through education and direct services.

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