Agencies in Bergen County work to stop evictions and to keep families housed. A number of tools are used in an effort to meet this goal. The homeless prevention programs combine everything from government grants to pay for housing expenses as well as partnerships with local landlords and non-profits such as the Continuum of Care.
Monthly rents in Bergen County are very high. Housing is difficult to find. When a low to moderate income family struggles, whether from an unexpected financial emergency or a crisis such as a job loss or illness, they may need help in averting an eviction. Or another service will try to rehouse residents, including providing security deposit assistance, and more information on that process is below as well.
Both the currently homeless and tenants with a vacate notice can get help. Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing programs were initiated in the region just for this reason. Families can get help in stopping an eviction from any number of organizations.
Emergency eviction help – GBCA is the primary provider of services in the region, however if the issue is legal in nature, then the Northeastern Legal Services (NNJLS) is the best agency to contact. There are different possible causes of why a tenant may be given a vacate notice, and each will be assessed to find the most relevant program.
Any type of money provided to a tenant for paying their housing expenses will be issued as part of the Emergency Solution Grant (ESG) program. This is HUD sponsored and it allocates funding each year to Bergen County based agencies for homeless prevention. It can not only help with paying any rental arrears, but it also addresses any unpaid utilities. This includes water, heating, as well as electric bills if needed.
In general, priority for eviction help is given to those otherwise self-sufficient individuals that have a unexpected Notice to Quit, utility disconnect, Notice to Terminate, or a letter from the landlord to leave the premises. If there is not enough time to get assistance, then short term lodging in a shelter or a free motel voucher may be given.
The GBCA (Greater Bergen Community Action) will also require a full, comprehensive case management process to occur as well. This is done to prevent any future evictions from the home or apartment, and the approach taking is holistic as well as comprehensive. It includes some or all of the following.
Eviction prevention programs in Bergen County New Jersey are comprehensive. Providing a cash grant is not enough on its own. That is why the organizations do so much more to help struggling, low income tenants, single moms, veterans, and the disabled in the community.
Bergen County rapid rehousing – While the goal is to always keep the tenant in their home, and to stop an eviction from even taking place, in some cases that is not always possible. This is when rehousing is used by the Greater Bergen Community Action Agency or other groups such as Catholic Charities.
There are many versions of this. There are resources focused on women or children escaping domestic violence, homeless veterans, and those that are physically or mentally disabled. Others can of course apply as well, and there are not restrictions based on age, race, or religion. Some programs offer financial aid, such as deposits or motel vouchers, and some solutions just arrange advice.
For HPRP Rapid Re-housing, homeless families and individuals need to have an assessment done by a case manager. This is used to screen applicants, and the result will be to determine if a rehousing program will work for their needs. Note a long term history of evictions can often be a barrier. An application will also need to be completed by all.
Financial help is issued only as a last resort, and if all other charities and government programs in New Jersey have been used. When qualified, there may be short term utility or rent payments made, security deposit help, or vouchers to pay for a motel room while the family moves. The process can take time due to the lack of affordable apartments in Bergen County New Jersey.
As noted, the main organization to call for eviction or homeless prevention include GBCA (Community Action), and their number is 201-488-5100. Strictly legal needs, or for landlord/tenant mediation, can be directed to NNJLS, and their phone number is 201-487-2166. Both of them are based in Hackensack, but provide services across Bergen County.
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