Christie Administration to Host Rental Fair for Low-Income Families Displaced by Superstorm Sandy
TRENTON, N.J. – Demonstrating its commitment to assisting New Jersey’s most vulnerable families in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the Christie Administration will host a rental fair focusing on Sandy-displaced families who have been approved for Special Admissions Section 8 Housing Vouchers and who need help locating rental housing. The rental fair will give landlords the opportunity to meet with Special Admissions voucher recipients and match the recipients with available rental units that best meet their needs.
“Many families who have received Special Admissions vouchers are having a difficult time finding safe, sanitary and affordable housing in the county in which they resided prior to the storm,” said NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III. “Through this rental fair, we are encouraging landlords with available housing units to be proactive in helping vulnerable families who have been displaced by this disaster.”
The “Returning Families to Safe Permanent Housing” Rental Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 6 at the Toms River Intermediate East School located at 1519 Hooper Avenue in Toms River. Along with the displaced families, existing Section 8 landlords, property owners, and real estate agents will be in attendance and have been encouraged to bring with them as much information as possible about their available rental properties, including photos.
The DCA’s Section 8 staff and American Red Cross will also be on hand, as well as the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, which will show attendees how to utilize the NJ Housing Resource Center that it administers. The Housing Resource Center is a free service at www.NJHRC.gov for people in search of affordable housing and for landlords who are looking to provide housing. The website is frequently updated and FEMA and relief workers use it daily to help Sandy survivors locate housing.
In December 2012, the Christie Administration set aside 1,000 Special Admissions vouchers, which are provided through the DCA-administered Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. They are designed to help low-income residents, who cannot return to their homes because of damage caused by Sandy, move into permanent housing. Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the vouchers, which average approximately $9,840 per year per household, will total $9.84 million.
The HCV program provides decent, safe and sanitary housing to very low income households in the private rental market by reducing housing costs through direct rent subsidy payments to landlords. Special Admissions households that meet the income eligibility requirements pay no more than 30 percent of their monthly income towards their housing cost. DCA has set aside the 1,000 Special Admissions vouchers from existing program funding that HUD has awarded the department.
To date, 422 Special Admissions vouchers have been issued to eligible households. Another 578 remain to be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
To be eligible, applicants must have been displaced from their primary residence by Superstorm Sandy; be registered with FEMA and deemed eligible for FEMA rental assistance; have a gross household income that does not exceed 40% of area median income; and be in this country legally. Applications are being accepted from households that are referred by a collaborating agency such as FEMA, the American Red Cross, and Legal Service of New Jersey.
More information on Special Admissions Section 8 vouchers can be found at http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/announcements/pdf/faq_sandy.pdf on the DCA website. Also, applications can be obtained by calling (609) 633-6606 or by emailing Hurricane.Sandy@dca.state.nj.us.