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Social Services

Murphy-Oliver Administration Announces New Program for Struggling Homeowners

Over $325 million of federal funding to provide financial assistance and counseling for homeowners financially impacted by COVID-19 

Governor Philip D. Murphy and Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver today announced the upcoming launch of the Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance Program (ERMA), administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA). This program will provide up to $35,000 in assistance to cover mortgage arrearages, delinquent property taxes, and other housing cost delinquencies for eligible homeowners negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This assistance offers struggling families a lifeline, and can make other loss mitigation options, such as refinancing, viable.  

If you are unsure if you’re eligible, you should call 855 647 7700 to be put in touch with a housing counselor who can help guide you through the process and understand your options. To qualify for the ERMA program, homeowners must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a New Jersey homeowner with a demonstrated COVID-19-related financial hardship occurring after January 20, 2020; 
  • Own and occupy an eligible primary residence;
  • Have an income below 150% of their Area Median Income (AMI).
  • Click here to apply. The application portal will open for applications on February 8th, 2022 at 9am.
  • Click here to review program eligibility and sign up for program updates.
  • Click here to view the full press release.

Utility Assistance Programs

Utility companies will resume shut off of service for nonpayment after December 31, 2021. Don’t delay, apply for energy assistance today!

If you’re having trouble affording your utility bills, there is good news! Due to the economic situation caused by the pandemic, New Jersey temporarily expanded its low-income energy assistance programs and its energy debt forgiveness program to middle class households (see new income limits by clicking here). Also, the USF-Fresh Start program offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to have electric and gas balances forgiven. Click here to learn what kind of benefit each program below provides and how to apply. Click here for brochures in English and Spanish.

Union County Residents Impacted by Tropical Storm Ida Can Apply for Food Assistance

Applications will be accepted for eligible residents from Monday, November 15 to Friday, November 19.

Linden residents impacted by Tropical Storm Ida may be eligible for food assistance through New Jersey’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or D-SNAP. The assistance is available to residents who are not currently enrolled in the SNAP program, and who meet income eligibility requirements. You may view and/or download the informational flyer in English and Spanish.

The application period for D-SNAP assistance in Union County will run from Monday, November 15 to Friday, November 19. Union County’s Department of Human Services, Division of Social Services has organized two intake offices that will be open to applicants during this period, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.

The offices are located in the Union County Emergency Management building at 535 Laurel Avenue in Roselle Park, and the Division of Social Services at 342 Westminster Avenue in Elizabeth.

“The assistance through D-SNAP will provide some much needed relief, and our staff will work to ensure that eligible residents receive their benefits as quickly as possible,” said Union County Commissioner Alexander Mirabella.

“Picking up the pieces after a disaster of the magnitude is a community effort that enlists every available resource. I would like to thank the New Jersey Department of Human Services for their diligence in getting approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to apply D-SNAP benefits, and staff of the Union County Department of Human Services staff who worked alongside them to make this happen for our residents,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, who is the Board’s liaison to the Union County Human Services Advisory Council.

To qualify for D-SNAP assistance, Union County residents in the impacted municipalities will need to show proof of identity, and proof of residency as of September 1, 2021 in the affected areas. Applicants must also show that they paid for disaster related expenses during the month of September.

Eligibility for D-SNAP assistance also depends on household income. To determine their eligibility, households must add their net income for the month of September to liquid resources, such as bank accounts. For example, if an individual’s net income for the month of September was $2,000 and they have $2,000 in a savings account, their combined income and resources for the month is $4,000.

For additional assistance, contact the Division of Social Services by phone at 908-965-2700.

D-SNAP provides food assistance to low-income households with food loss or damage caused by a natural disaster. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service must approve states to operate D-SNAP in a disaster area.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, click here. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health here.

Eviction Prevention Information

New Jersey’s Eviction Protections and Self-Certification Form

As New Jersey winds down the COVID-19 eviction moratorium, the State has introduced critical protections to renter households who experienced economic hardships during the pandemic.

If you live in a New Jersey household with income below 120% of your county’s Area Median Income, you are permanently protected from eviction or removal at any time for nonpayment of rent, habitual late payment of rent, or failure to accept a rent increase that accrued from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021.

Depending on your household’s income level and specific circumstances, you may also be eligible for protection from eviction or removal through December 31, 2021, and other assistance and services. These protections are not affected by the Supreme Court’s decision on the CDC’s eviction moratorium.

Eligible Union County Seniors Can Still Apply for Farmers Market Vouchers!

Due to ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19, Farmers Market vouchers for eligible Union County seniors are being distributed only by mail. Each eligible senior can obtain five $6 dollar vouchers for a total of $30 to purchase “Jersey Fresh” fruits, vegetables and herbs at Farmers Markets that display the black and yellow WIC posters.

To be eligible, seniors must be age 60 and older. A single person’s annual income cannot exceed $1,986 per month and a married couple’s combined income may not exceed $2,686 per month.

Eligible seniors who have not yet received vouchers can request a voucher application form by calling the Union County Division on Aging, 908-527-4870, 908-527-4877 or 888-280-8226, weekdays from 8am until 4pm.  Eligible seniors can receive a set of vouchers one time per year.

A limited number of vouchers are still available and applications will be evaluated on a “first-come first-served” basis. 

Face coverings and social distance may be required when visiting Farmers Market sites during this summer season.

Participating Farmers Market in Union County are located in:

  • Cranford (Dreyer Farms, 831 Springfield Avenue)
  • Elizabeth (Elizabeth Avenue Farmers’ Market, Union Square between Elizabeth Avenue and High Street)
  • Kenilworth ( 455 Boulevard)
  • Plainfield (Watchung Avenue and East 6th Street, across from City Hall)
  • Rahway (Rahway Farmer’s Market, at NJ Transit Train Station Plaza
  • Roselle Park (Roselle ark Farmers’ Market, at Chestnut Street and East Grant Avenue)
  • Scotch Plains (Scotch Plains Farmers’ Market, Municipal Parking Lot at 430 Park Avenue)
  • Springfield (66 Mountain Avenue)
  • Summit (Park & Shop #2, at Maple Street and DeForest Avenue)
  • Westfield (NJ Transit Railroad Station, North Avenue Parking Lot)

For more information about the Farmers’ Market nutrition program, or any services provided by the Division of Aging and Disability Resource in the Union County Department of Human Services, call 1-888-280-8226, or visit online here. Please note that in-person services may be limited or modified due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.