BY JIM PYTELL, ASSISTANT EDITOR ON AUG 7, 2020
At today’s COVID-19 press conference, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency is allocating a $25 million Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program to assist landlords and tenants with pandemic-related losses.
The money comes from federal CARES Act funding.
“This program will provide emergency grant funding to the owners of small rental apartment buildings between 3 and 10 units to help cover their COVID-19 related losses from April through July,” Murphy said.
He added that landlords who receive assistance from the program must then pass the benefits on to their tenants by forgiving outstanding back rent and late fees that were accumulated during the same period.
“The majority of low- and moderate-income renters live in buildings with between 3 and 10 units,” Murphy said. “We know that by assisting small landlords, we are helping to secure quality rental housing by protecting their investment in the maintenance of their properties.”
Additionally, the governor also reiterated that an eviction moratorium remains in place, preventing tenants from being removed from their homes during the pandemic.
Contact Tracing Dashboard
A new contact tracing dashboard has been launched on the state’s official website and can be reached at www.covid19.nj.gov.
“This dashboard will allow everyone to see where our core of 1,344 contact tracers is currently on the job, as well as the latest available information on their efforts,” Murphy said.
According to the dashboard, 63% of individuals called by a contact tracer were successfully reached, and nearly half of all contacts were able to be notified of their exposure.
Murphy added that 45% of successfully contacted individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 refused to provide any contact information.
Of the 1,344 contact tracers in the state, 995 of them are public health workers, with the additional 339 as part of the community contact tracing core, having completed their training at Rutgers School of Public Health. A total of 638 contact tracers have been hired through the school, with the remaining hirees still undergoing training.
Murphy said that more contact tracers will be added until every county hits the threshold of 15 tracers per 100,000 residents. After that, Murphy said the goal is to then double that number.
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