OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ – State Senator Vin Gopal is urging Monmouth County residents who have suffered a loss of income because of the pandemic and need help paying utility bills to consider applying for relief through the NJ SHARES Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).
“We don’t want to see anyone lose their apartment or risk having their heat or other utilities shut off because COVID-19 has caused them to lose their job or other sources of income and they have fallen behind on their bills,” said Gopal, D-Monmouth. “As we head into the harshest part of winter, I want Monmouth County residents to know help is available through NJ SHARES, which has partnered with Monmouth County to offer its Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) utility assistance.”
NJ SHARES announced that $3 million in federal funds are available for utility assistance and that the organization is working directly with the utility companies in Monmouth – JCP&L, NJNG and PSE&G – to help residents who are in arrears on their utility bills. The nonprofit organization that provides statewide help and referral for essential services to those in need of assistance is accepting applications from Monmouth County residents at njshares.org/monmouth-county-apply/, where residents also will find the full list of program guidelines.
Eligible households may receive assistance for up to 18 months of home energy costs incurred on or after March 13, 2020, and applicants must prove loss of income or employment, or that they are facing a financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 pandemic. They must also demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability with past due notices, rent notice or eviction notice, or other notices.
“The State Legislature has extended the Moratorium on Utility Shutoffs on overdue utility bills to March 15, 2022, but I am urging residents who are in need to consider applying for help now from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) utility assistance so the amounts they owe do not continue to grow,” Gopal said. “That will just exacerbate the crisis and they will find themselves deeper in debt when the moratoriums are finally lifted.”
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In addition to going directly to NJ SHARES for assistance, residents may call the Legislative District 11 Office in Ocean Township, at (732) 695-3371 or email the LD11 Constituent Services Team online.