$325 Million Program for Struggling Homeowners to Launch Feb. 8
The Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance will be launched on Feb. 8, 2022. Eligible homeowners may receive up to $35,000, plus free housing counseling services, to cover mortgage arrearages, delinquent property taxes and other housing cost delinquencies.
New Jersey’s Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) program provides financial assistance for eligible homeowners who have experienced a significant decrease of income or increase of expenses due to COVID-19 and have been unable to remain current with their mortgage payments.
Applicants may receive up to $35,000 per household to cover:
- Mortgage reinstatement assistance
- Other eligible housing related costs, including:
- Escrow shortages
- Delinquent property taxes
- Municipal or tax liens
- Up to four future mortgage payments, inclusive of principal, interest, taxes and homeowner’s insurance
If eligible, you could receive up to $35,000 in the form of a three-year forgivable loan, with no interest or payments due. If the property is sold, transferred, or refinanced (except for refinances for a lower rate and/or shorter term) or you do not maintain the property as your primary residence during the three (3) year term of the mortgage and note, you must repay the ERMA Program funds.
This lifeline makes loss mitigation options, such as refinancing, a viable option.
ERMA, which is being administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA), utilizes $325.9 million of federal Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) money under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
ERMA will also provide free housing counseling services to help New Jersey homeowners apply for this program, guide them through all available options, and even work with their loan servicers to achieve the best outcome available for their families. These counselors will also ensure that the process is accessible to those without access to Internet or those having difficulties navigating the process.
Visit www.njhousing.gov/dca/hmfa/covid19/haf to review program eligibility guidelines and sign up for program updates. 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).
NJHMFA will provide the centralized application intake platform, eligibility review and payment of assistance, which will be made directly to the servicer.
Housing counselors are available to assist homeowners with applications or understanding all available options. ERMA applications can be submitted using a personal computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet, or call 855-647-7700 to be put in touch with a housing counselor. The ERMA application portal will open for applications at: www.njerma.com on February 8, 2022 at 9 a.m.
NJHMFA will work to accommodate homeowners with disabilities as well as to assist applicants with limited English proficiency. The application portal is available in many languages. Applicants seeking accommodations should contact NJHMFA at (855) 647-7700 for assistance.
To receive updates and notifications on the program via email and/or text, visit the NJHMFA HAF page and complete the “Receive HAF Update Notifications” form at: www.njhousing.gov/dca/hmfa/covid19/haf