What Are the Qualifications for Temporary Rental Assistance in New Jersey?

New Jersey has several rental assistance programs to help people who couldn't otherwise afford a place to live. These include programs that offer streamlined aid if you're in danger of being evicted. New Jersey also has a rental subsidy program comparable to the federal Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. Households on the federal Section 8 program can access additional help with rent in New Jersey if they agree to participate in a program designed to help families get off assistance.

Income Guidelines

Rental assistance programs are based primarily on household income. The federal standards for very low, low and moderate income limits are published annually by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. New Jersey publishes its own income limits, which are further broken down by region and county.

The New Jersey guide to affordable housing defines the household categories as follows, with reference to the median family income of the county:

  • Very low income is 30 percent or below of the median family income
  • Low income is 50 percent or below of the median family income
  • Moderate income is 80 percent or below of the median family income

In New Jersey, some housing assistance programs follow state income guidelines. Others, such as Section 8 vouchers, follow federal tables.

Staying In Your Home: Homelessness Prevention

New Jersey's Homelessness Prevention program provides assistance to those who face eviction because of non-payment of rent or outstanding mortgage payments. To qualify as a renter, you must:

  • Have moderate income or less
  • Have received a summons or complaint for eviction
  • Have exhausted other financial resources
  • Have no delinquent loan with the Homelessness Prevention program, and no history of fraud with government programs
  • Have not received an equivalent subsidy
  • Be likely to pay shelter costs after assistance ends
  • Have experienced hardship that led to inability to pay housing costs
  • Have lived in your rental unit at least three months before falling into arrears

A list of organizations and individuals to contact in your county about the Homelessness Prevention program are available on the state of New Jersey's website.

State Rental Assistance Program

New Jersey's state rental assistance program is similar to a federal Section 8 voucher. It provides a rental subsidy to households with low or very low income. People who receive the SRAP subsidy are limited to five years on the program, unless they are elderly or disabled. In that case, time on the program is unlimited.

When a Section 8 Federal Housing Choice Voucher subsidy becomes available, a household will stop receiving SRAP.

By law, 75 percent of those on the program must be of very low income and the remaining 25 percent cannot exceed 40 percent of the of low income limits based on HUD guidelines.

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

HUD provides funding for rental subsidies to New Jersey families. Section 8 vouchers are paid directly to the landlord, and the renter pays any difference. To be eligible, households must be of very low or low income.

Vouchers do not have to be used in subsidized housing. Although tenants can choose where they will live, several conditions must be met to qualify for Section 8 funding.

  • The local public housing agency must inspect the rental unit to ensure it meets health and safety standards.
  • The PHA must determine the rent is reasonable.
  • The tenant must sign a one-year lease.

Under New Jersey's Family Self Sufficiency program, further rental assistance is provided to people using Section 8 vouchers if they participate in job training, education and social service programs.