As unemployment has surged because of layoffs and business closings related to the COVID-19, pandemic, government aid from the Cares Act, from the PPP program, and state unemployment fund has helped stabilize income for some, but it’s not enough. The number of renters and homeowners unable to pay their rent or their mortgage payments increased dramatically. For example, 450,000 households (40% of renters in the state), were unable to afford August’s rent, adding to $687 million in unpaid rent since March, according to the “COVID Economic Impact Report,” released by a consulting firm and based on census information. We know that homeowners are behind too. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, New Jersey was one of the five states with the largest quarterly increases in delinquency rates when it released its findings in August. New Jersey of this year, making us one of the five hardest hit states from the economic impact of COVID. And Atlantic City is one of the five metro areas leading the nation in terms of homeowners behind on their mortgages.
Right now because of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order, there can be no evictions or foreclosures for at least two months after the health emergency order lapses. (The Governor renews it every thirty days.) However, the rent and mortgage amounts due continue to accrue.
Eviction and foreclosure filings continue to pile up, even if they cannot be executed.
We have been educating our members and the public about rental assistance and landlord assistance programs, as well as other programs that are helpful to families struggling to pay the bills like the fact that utilities can’t be shut off at the moment.
When the pandemic ends, and it will eventually, hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans may find themselves out on the streets because they were unable to pay all the money they owed.
A bill passed by the state Assembly, but stalled in the Senate, called the “People’s Bill,” would at least put in place some protections. A coalition of organizations continues to advocate for its passage, including Compassionate NJ. Explore this link for further information.