New Jersey is getting a last round of block grants under the federal COVID-19 relief bill, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced on Sept. 11.
The funding can be used by towns, cities and county governments to bolster their response to the pandemic or, to a limited extent, to make up for money lost because of a sudden crater in tax revenue and soaring expenses to deal with the virus.
“From our frontline workers and small businesses to the most vulnerable among us, it’s vital that we have the resources needed to protect the health and safety of all New Jerseyans,” U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat, said in a Monday statement.
“This federal funding takes another step toward responding to this crisis, stimulating our economic recovery, and strengthening New Jersey communities.”
Under the conditions of these new HUD grants, the funds could be used to “provide temporary financial assistance to meet rental obligations for up to six months,” HUD said.
The federal dollars, dolled out under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, are prioritized for those communities with the highest job losses and unemployment in the state, those with the highest rates of transmission, and poorer neighborhoods where residents are at a greater risk for eviction.
“These funds can help households struggling to meet their rental or mortgage obligations to stay afloat as our nation continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a Friday statement.
The largest of the grants are going to New Jersey’s most populated urban centers. Newark is getting a $3.5 million grant, Jersey City a $3.1 million grant, Paterson and Atlantic City grants of $1.9 million, and Elizabeth a $1.5 million grant.
Meanwhile, 14 of New Jersey’s 21 counties are getting grants, with Bergen, Cumberland, Hunterdon, Mercer, Ocean, Sussex and Warren counties excluded from that list.
A combined $5.8 million will go to the state as a whole, which it can divvy up among individual local governments.
“This funding is a lifeline for so many communities throughout our state and will ensure homeowners, renters, families, and seniors have the tools and resources to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table,” U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, also a Democrat, said on Monday.