Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Fund - Program Description
 
Total Funds
The NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA) anticipates that New Jersey will receive approximately $41 million in Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The majority of funds, approximately $31 million, will be distributed directly from the federal government to municipalities and counties.  The DCA anticipates it will receive $10,221,710 to administer. 

The DCA currently administers a homelessness prevention program that closely mirrors the program outlined below.  However, the current program is funded with state dollars.  Therefore, the program had to be altered due to conditions specific to federal monies. 

The funds will be awarded to grantees through a public request for proposals process.  No locality receiving funds directly from the Federal Government under this program will be eligible for funding through DCA’s allotment.

The DCA held extensive stakeholder meetings and a public hearing regarding this program and considers this outcome satisfactory to all parties. 

Purpose of Program
To provide temporary financial assistance and services to:
  • Prevent households from becoming homeless;
  • Divert people who are applying for temporary shelter into more permanent housing; and
  • Help those who are experiencing homelessness to be quickly re-housed and stabilized.
Eligible Program Participants
New Jersey resident, whose household’s income is equal to or less than 50 percent of the Area Median Income and is either homeless or at risk of losing their housing and lacks the financial resources and support networks to identify immediate housing or remain in existing housing.  Please note that the program will only assist persons who can remain stably housed after the temporary assistance ends.
Target Populations
  • Populations eligible for homeless prevention include individuals and families currently in housing but who are at risk of becoming homeless and need temporary rent or utility assistance to prevent them from becoming homeless or assistance to move to another housing unit.  
  • Populations eligible for rapid re-housing include individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness (e.g. residing in emergency or transitional shelters or on the street) and need temporary assistance in order to obtain housing and retain it.
Priority Populations
DCA will target these resources to the following populations with the highest likelihood to become homeless:
  • Victims of domestic violence, with or without children.
    • A referral from the Department of Children and Families, an emergency shelter agency, a county welfare agency or other social service agency will be required.
  • Households with children, which have broken up or face imminent breakup due to homelessness. 
    • A referral from the Department of Children and Families, an emergency shelter agency, a county welfare agency or other social service agency will be required.
  • Youth leaving the foster care system and/or juvenile justice system (18 – 23 years of age)
    • A referral from the Department of Children and Families or the Juvenile Justice Commission will be required.
  • Households on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Successful graduates of transitional housing programs
    • A referral from a recognized transitional housing facility or the Department of Children and Families will be required.
  • Households with children temporarily "doubled up" with friends or family or living in motels they pay for because they cannot afford housing.
Eligible Sub-Grantees
  • Nonprofits servicing areas of the State that did not receive a direct allocation of HPRP funds from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Local and county governments who did not receive a direct allocation of HPRP funds from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
As required by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, all applicants will be required to provide a certification from their local Continuum of Care board certifying that the program is consistent with the local homeless prevention plan.
Eligible Activities
  • Financial Assistance
    • Security Deposits: up to 1 ½ months of rent.
    • Short-term Rental Assistance: up to 3 months of rental assistance.
    • Medium-term Rental Assistance: 4-18 months of rental assistance.  All medium-term rental assistance recipients must be re-certified for eligibility at least once every three months.  Medium-term rental assistance can be used to pay up to 6 months of rental arrears.
    • Utility Deposits and Payments:  up to 18 months of utility payments, including 6 months of utility payments in arrears.
    • Moving Cost Assistance:  reasonable moving costs, such as a truck rental, hiring a moving company or short-term storage fees for a maximum of three months or until the program participant is in housing, whichever is shorter.

  • Case Management:  arrangement, coordination, monitoring, and delivery of services related to meeting the housing needs of program participants and helping them to obtain housing stability. Case management services include:
    • Developing an individualized housing and service plan for program participants.
    • Identifying and obtaining services for program participants.
    • 3 month monitoring and evaluation of the program participant’s progress.

  • Housing Search and Placement:  assist program participants locate, secure, and retain suitable housing.
     
  • Credit Repair:  assist program participants develop a budget, manage their money, access and review a free credit report, and resolve personal credit issues.

  • Legal Services:  legal advice and representation in administrative or court proceedings related to tenant/landlord matters or other rental housing issues.

  • Data Collection and Evaluation: costs associated with operating a Homeless Management Information System for purposes of collecting and reporting data required under HPRP.  Eligible costs include:
    • HMIS software purchases and user licenses.
    • Leasing or purchasing needed computer equipment.
    • Staffing associated with the operation of HMIS.
Please note ineligible data collection costs include planning and development of HMIS systems, development of new software systems, and replacing state and local government funding for an existing HMIS. 
Ineligible Activities
  • Employment training or child care.
  • Mortgage costs or other expenses needed by homeowners for fees, taxes, or other costs of refinancing a mortgage.
  • Construction or rehabilitation.
  • Credit card bills or consumer debt.
  • Car repair or transportation costs.
  • Food
  • Medical or dental care or medicines.
  • Clothing and grooming costs.
  • Home furnishings.
  • Pet care.
  • Entertainment activities.
  • Work or education-related materials.
  • Cash assistance to program participants.
  • Discharge planning initiatives for individuals exiting government care facilities.
  • Providing assistance to renters residing in a property owned by the grantee, sub-grantee or the parent, subsidiary or affiliated organization of the sub-grantee.
Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program Budget
Please note the maximum term of financial assistance that can be provided to any household is 18 months. The financial assistance and housing relocation/stabilization funds will be split 50-50 between Homelessness
Prevention Activities and Rapid Re-Housing Activities
 Administration: The State will share the eligible administration funds with sub-grantees; 25% of the eligible funding will go to DCA and 75% will be allocated to the sub-grantees.

Applicants may request 4% of their total budget up to a maximum of $20,000 for administration. Administration includes accounting for the use of grant funds, preparing reports or obtaining program audits, and similar costs related to administering the grant. Staff costs directly associated with delivering rental assistance payments, client services and client data collection can be paid by programmatic funds from the appropriate categories.

Outcome Measures [pdf 15kB]
DCA will utilize the following measures to assess the effectiveness of this program: