Our communities continue to be impacted physically, emotionally and financially by the Coronavirus pandemic. NJ Hope and Healing offers individuals and families free services such as Online Support Stress Management Techniques, Coping Skills, Compassion Fatigue and Resources Linkage. These services are offered in both individual and group crisis counseling services in person and virtually (zoom). Please note that NJ Hope and Healing is not a service of, nor in any way affiliated with, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark or any of its parishes, schools, or other charitable entities.
Covid Relief Package and Final Fiscal Year 2021 Spending Bill
List of Non-Legal & Legal Resources Related to COVID-19
COVID-19: RESIDENTIAL EVICTIONS: WHAT TENANTS NEED TO KNOW
COVID-19: RESIDENTIAL EVICTIONS: WHAT HOMEOWNERS NEED TO KNOW
Tenants and the COVID pandemic: Legislation needed to prevent eviction while helping tenants pay their current rent going forward and helping landlords get some of the back rent they lost Last March the Governor shut down the economy and stopped courts and landlords from evicting tenants. But that moratorium will end sometime in 2021. Around 400,000 tenant households will be behind in their rent due to the job losses and other expenses cause by the virus and the economic shut down. The Legislature must pass laws preventing eviction when the moratorium ends by (1) changing the way Courts deal with evictions; (2) helping landlords get a good part of the unpaid back rent they lost; and (3) helping tenants pay their regular rent after the moratorium ends, until the jobs return and they are back on their feet.
Bills that change the way the Courts deal with evictions:
A5242This bill stops evictions for unpaid back rent that builds up before the moratorium ends. Tenants will still owe the rent, but they can’t be evicted for it. Landlords can still sue and get a money judgment and collect it like other creditors.
S2340/A4034. This bill allows tenants to be taken to court for eviction when the moratorium ends, but it requires landlords to set up repayment agreements. Tenants will have 6 months to pay back each month’s rent they missed, with all back rent due within 30 months. But this bill has been weakened by amendments, and needs to made stronger so that it protects more people than it does now. This is the “People’s Bill”.
S538/A3108. This bill fixes many problems with the eviction process. For instance, it ends the requirement that Tenants “post” all unpaid rent (such as rent they have been holding because of bad conditions) before the Court will hear their case.
S539/A3109 . Tenants know that future Landlords may refuse to rent to them if they were ever taking to Court, even if they won or the filing was a mistake. This bill stops that by “sealing the records” for all cases that do not lead to actual eviction, meaning that future Landlords and credit agencies won’t be able to learn about the filing.
(No number yet). This bill changes the way courts deal with tenant and landlord problems. It sets up a program that helps Tenants as soon as they start to get behind in their rent. It makes sure that landlords get their money, and that Tenants are not even taken to court for eviction.
Bills that give Landlords some of the back rent they lost during the moratorium, in order to stop them from evicting their tenants”
A4617. Provides landlords with a large part of the back rent they lost, which means the tenants will owe less. But the eviction protections in the bill needs to be made stronger, to make sure that landlord don’t get their unpaid rent but still evict the tenants anyway. (S3022 is a similar bill that we support).
Bills that help Tenants pay rent going forward when the moratorium ends
S3245/A5143. Provides rental assistance on a sliding scale to Tenants so they can pay their regular rent going forward after the moratorium. Tenants with the lowest incomes will get the most help, while Tenants making more money will still get some help if they need it.This bill expands Homeless Prevention to create a temporary rental assistance program to pay rent going forward for 2-3 years when the economy should be recovered.
This website is good for checking on the status of bills and for who is sponsoring the bill. https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillsByNumber.asp New Jersey will receive about $591 in rental assistance in the law passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the president in December 2020. (See below for details.) Advocates must start working immediately with state and local policymakers to ensure that rental assistance funds are fairly and equitably distributed to the tenants most at risk of housing instability and homelessness. The above state bills are needed to be enacted by the N.J. Legislature and administrative agencies to effectively use these federal funds. Rental Assistance programs should include further targeting and prioritization guidelines, along with strong tenant protections, such as eviction protections, rent forgiveness, and other measures to ensure that tenants remain housed until the Covid-19 pandemic is contained. President Joe Biden will be submitting an additional COVID-19 stimulus bill to Congress which will contain provision for more tenant and homeowner financial assistance. Covid Relief Package and Final Fiscal Year 2021 Spending Bill On December 21, 2020, Congress reached an agreement on a Covid relief package. Congress also released a final FY21 spending bill that included funding for HUD and affordable housing programs. Below is a summary and analysis of the key components of both bills with respect to affordable housing and tenants’ rights. President Trump signed the bill. There are several important housing provisions in the emergency Covid relief package. The relief package includes $25 billion for emergency rental assistance, funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) and administered through the Department of Treasury. New Jersey will receive about $591 million of this in this assistance. The assistance will cover a small fraction of the vast need for rental assistance throughout the country. However, Congress made some improvements to CRF since the CARES Act, including adding a requirement that 90% of the funds be used towards rental assistance, which may include current rent, prospective rent, and rental arrears, as well as utility payments, utility arrears, and other potential housing costs incurred due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, CRF funds must now be distributed to renter households with incomes at or below 80% of the Area Median Income, with a priority for households at or below 50% AMI, or households that include at least one person who has been unemployed for 90 days at the time they apply for rental assistance. Up to 10% of funds may also be used for housing stability services, which the Act defines as “case management and other services related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, as defined by the Secretary of HUD, intended to help keep households stably housed.” Legal aid may qualify as “housing stability services” but ultimately the Treasury will interpret what activities are authorized with the funds.
COVID-19 Vaccine Info – Updated Jan 14, 2021: COVID-19: How to contact the County of Essex to seek an appointment for the vaccine. The County of Essex has posted a notice where eligible persons in our local towns can obtain information on how and where to schedule appointments for the receipt of the COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna). https://essexcountynj.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/essex-county-vaccine-flier-3-1.pdf Here’s how it works, Essex County officials say: That County posting provides a telephone number (973-877-8456) and a digital link: www.essexCOVID.org to arrange for an appointment. The sites for obtaining the vaccine are different depending on your township residence: Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Montclair, Nutley. “Appointments only can be made after the county receives the vaccines. Vaccinations will be given in two doses. Residents making reservations to receive the vaccination will receive two appointments. It is critical that residents attend both appointments. Residents will be asked to provide their medical insurance information and their insurance provider will be billed $16.94 for the first dose and $28.39 for the second dose. If a resident does not have insurance, the cost of the vaccine will be covered by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provide Relief Fund. There will be no out-of-pocket expenses charged to residents.” Here’s what to expect, county officials say: “Each vaccination site is set up in a similar fashion. Residents entering the site will first be pre-screened to verify they have an appointment. Those who do not have an appointment will not be allowed to receive the vaccine that day. Residents will then proceed to a registration table where they will be provided with their paperwork for their visit and receive a card to remind them about their second appointment. After being inoculated with the vaccine, residents will be required to wait 15 minutes while they are monitored for any side effects. Social distancing guidelines will be followed at every site and areas will be sanitized on a regular basis throughout the day.” WHO IS ELIGIBLE? New Jersey is rolling out its vaccines in phases. An exact timeline hasn’t been made available. Vaccination is voluntary; nobody is required to get a shot. Here’s how state officials originally described the eligibility list: In Phase 1A, only frontline health care workers in close contact with the virus were cleared to get a vaccination. Certain vulnerable populations such as nursing home residents and prison inmates were also able to get a shot. In the first part of Phase 1B, police and firefighters were cleared to get their shots. When the second part of Phase 1B kicks in, other essential employees such as teachers, food service workers and truckers, as well as people over 75-years-old, will be eligible to get a vaccination. In Phase 1C, the list will expand to other essential employees who work in “overcrowded settings” such as colleges, adults 65 to 74, and people aged 16 to 64 with medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19. In Phase 2 of the rollout, anyone in the general public will be able to get a vaccination. However, New Jersey took a detour from its distribution plan on Jan. 13. Now the list includes seniors over 65 and people with medical conditions that put them at risk from the virus (a group that was originally in Phase 1C.) Read More: Gov. Murphy To Expand COVID Vaccine To NJ Seniors 65 And Older: https://patch.com/new-jersey/warren/gov-murphy-expand-covid-vaccine-nj-seniors-add-sites Eligible conditions people with medical conditions that put them at risk for COVID, over age 16 include:
Chronic kidney disease
Sickle cell anemia
Type 2 diabetes
Individuals who are pregnant
Those in an immunocompromised state and a weakened immune system because of issues such as an organ transplant
This posting has information that is subject to change by the County. So, to obtain current information, contact the above telephone number or County website for future updates on administration of the vaccine
NEWS RELEASE TO: Diocesan Pro-Life Directors, State Catholic Conference Directors FROM: USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities DATE: December 14, 2020 RE: U.S. Bishop Chairmen for Pro-Life and Doctrine Address Ethical Concerns on the New COVID-19 Vaccines
WASHINGTON– On December 14, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement on the new COVID-19 vaccines. In their statement, the bishops address the moral concerns raised by the fact that the three vaccines that appear to be ready for distribution in the United States all have some connection to cell lines that originated with tissue taken from abortions.
With regard to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, they concluded:
“In view of the gravity of the current pandemic and the lack of availability of alternative vaccines, the reasons to accept the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are sufficiently serious to justify their use, despite their remote connection to morally compromised cell lines.”
“Receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of our community. In this way, being vaccinated safely against COVID-19 should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.”
With regard to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the bishops found it to be “more morally compromised” and consequently concluded that this vaccine “should be avoided” if there are alternatives available. “It may turn out, however, that one does not really have a choice of vaccine, at least, not without a lengthy delay in immunization that may have serious consequences for one’s health and the health of others,” the bishop chairmen stated. “In such a case … it would be permissible to accept the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
At the same time, the bishops also warned that Catholics “must be on guard so that the new COVID-19 vaccines do not desensitize us or weaken our determination to oppose the evil of abortion itself and the subsequent use of fetal cells in research.”
The full statement from the bishop chairmen may be found at