(TRENTON) – As a means of preventing homelessness in the state, a bill to provide temporary rental assistance to individuals facing eviction due to temporary conditions, such as loss of employment, temporary unemployment, and underemployment, recently cleared the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.The measure is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Patricia Egan Jones, Raj Mukherji, Benjie Wimberly and Nicholas Chiaravalloti.
The bill (A-1729) would provide temporary rental assistance for individuals who are eligible for emergency assistance and need financial assistance to stay in their own home. The temporary rental assistance would be in addition to all other types of emergency assistance currently provided by the state to eligible individuals.
“Many people are one emergency away from hitting financial rock bottom,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “By providing funding for eligible individuals to stay in their homes, the state can prevent unnecessary homelessness, maintain the family unit, and be fiscally responsible.”
“An unexpected job loss or illness can throw your financial situation into disarray,” said Jones (D-Camden, Gloucester). “This would allow residents who are struggling financially and are at the brink of eviction to stay in their homes while they work to get back on their feet.”
“It is much easier for people to bounce back financially if they have a stable living situation,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “This temporary rental assistance can help residents who are facing financial difficulties stay in their homes while they work to remedy their financial situation.”
“For people who were already struggling financially, the sudden loss of a job or a reduction of work hours can be devastating,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic). “This temporary assistance protects families from falling into homelessness, which creates a whole new set of problems.”
“Not everyone has relatives or friends they can stay with if they are no longer able to pay their rent due to an unexpected event,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “This helps families avoid homelessness and maintain some type of stability which is crucial to their financial recovery.”
Temporary rental assistance may be provided to maintain current permanent housing which had previously been affordable, but is no longer affordable to the recipient for reasons including, but not limited to, loss of employment and temporary unemployment or underemployment.
Additionally, temporary rental assistance may be provided when it is determined that maintaining the unit in the current housing arrangement is both the least costly alternative and serves to preserve the family structure while the search for affordable housing continues.
The bill was introduced in January 2018. It now awaits further consideration from the Assembly.