Housing Counseling and Legal Services Program (HCS)
The Housing Counseling and Legal Services Program provides a wide range of free services for homeowners and renters, including assistance with completing applications for Hurricane Ida recovery programs and other disaster recovery programs. The services also include fair housing education for landlords and renters, and financial counseling. The program’s goal is to provide supportive services that help renters and homeowners access disaster recovery programs, understand their housing rights and responsibilities, and secure safe permanent housing.
To carry out this program, DCA is partnering with HUD-certified community-based nonprofit groups and public organizations to deliver these services. These partnerships are made possible with federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding that DCA’s Division of Disaster Recovery and Mitigation is administering on behalf of the State of New Jersey.
What free services does the program provide?
- Assistance with application and required paperwork for disaster recovery programs.
- Application help for temporary and permanent assistance programs, and job training and employment services programs.
- Referrals to resources such as utility assistance, public benefits, and nutrition, childcare, and mental health services.
- Education on fair housing and rental affordability requirements.
- Housing counseling services, including but not limited to financial counseling, housing search, homelessness prevention, foreclosure prevention, and debt management.
- Legal services, including but not limited to legal advice and/or legal representation in such areas as insurance claims, clearing property titles, eviction and foreclosure proceedings, landlord/tenant issues, and contractor scams, disputes, and fraud.
Who is eligible for the services?
- New Jersey residents who can demonstrate they were impacted by Hurricane Ida or Superstorm Sandy. Impacts can include housing displacement, housing damage, and unemployment.
- Residents who lived in one of the following counties at the time of either storm: Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Warren, and Union.
- Residents who are required to complete housing counseling to participate in a another CDBG-DR-funded disaster recovery program.
- Owners of small rental properties who will rent housing at affordable rates to income-qualified tenants. They will receive training on fair housing requirements and compliance requirements for participating in affordable rental programs.
How to access these services:
People can call (609) 913-4463 or email DRM.HCS@dca.nj.gov for more information about accessing the services.
People can call or email for more information about accessing the services.