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Extended Programs Include Interim Rental Assistance, Behavioral Health Screenings, Lead Testing, Substance Abuse Treatment and Nursing Services
Trenton – Adopting the Christie Administration’s justification for continued operation of critical housing assistance and health and social services programs, the federal government has approved the Administration’s request to extend the operation of 13 Sandy recovery programs funded with federal Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) monies.  Most of these programs, which otherwise would have been required to be phased out in September 2015, now can operate for another two years, through September 2017.  The approval also permits a transfer of $10 million of SSBG funds into the Rental Assistance Program.“We recognize that there continues to be a need for all of these programs, which is why we sought the extension” said Acting Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Elizabeth Connolly.  “We now can continue to address the needs of recovering individuals and families past September 2015.  We thank the federal Office of Management and Budget and the Association of Children and Families for their support in granting this extension.”  

The Rental Assistance Program (RAP), overseen by DHS and administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, was among the extended programs.  RAP provides interim rental assistance to eligible RREM and LMI Homeowners Rebuilding Program applicants simultaneously paying a mortgage and rent while displaced by Sandy damage or construction.  The program was extended through September 2017.  RAP builds on previous investments in interim rental assistance through FEMA Individual Assistance, the Homeowner Resettlement Program, and the Working Families Living Expenses Voucher Program (also known as SHRAP).  With the $10 million transfer, the cumulative allocation to RAP now stands at $19.5 million.

Additionally, the State successfully extended the Blood Lead Screenings and Case Management Program as well as the Behavioral Screenings for Individuals and Families Program, both administered by the Department of Health (DOH).  The first program has allowed for the screening of more than 11,000 people for lead poisoning, including those at highest risk – children under 6 years old, pregnant women and professionals working to rebuild Sandy-affected communities.  The second program already has provided behavioral health issue screenings for more than 50,000 people.  

Other extended programs include the Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative, administered by DHS, which increases access and capacity for substance abuse disorder treatment services, the Displaced Homemaker Program, administered by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), which expands services at displaced homemaker centers, and the Children and Families Health Nursing Support Program, administered by DCF, which expands nursing support for families in need.

The complete list of extended SSBG-funded programs is:  Accessibility Repairs for Disabled Program; Assistance to Homeless Residents Program; Behavioral Screenings for Individuals and Families Program; Blood Lead Screenings and Case Management Program; Children and Family Health Nursing Support Program; Community Health Law Project; Displaced Homemakers Program; Legal Services of New Jersey Program; Mental Health Supportive Housing Vouchers; the NJ Sandy Child and Family Health Study; Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative (Substance Abuse Treatment); Rental Assistance Program; and Senior Repair Grants Program.

For more information on the Rental Assistance Program, visit
For more information on DHS Sandy recovery programs, visit
For more information on DOH recovery programs, visit
For more information on DCF recovery programs, visit
For more information on the NJ Sandy Child and Health Family Study, visit

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