New Program Will Provide $325M in Assistance for Struggling Homeowners

Gov. Phil Murphy 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.

New Jersey’s program utilizes $325.9 million of federal Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) money, and is expected to help thousands of families get back on their feet.

“We are pleased to announce this new program that will alleviate COVID-19 related housing insecurity for thousands of New Jersey families,” Murphy said. “ERMA is a powerful addition to our portfolio of measures to prevent foreclosures and help New Jersey homeowners stay in their homes.”

ERMA will also provide free housing counseling services to help New Jersey homeowners apply for this program, guide them through all available options, and work with their loan servicers to achieve the best outcome available for their family. These counselors will also ensure that the process is accessible to those without access to internet or those having difficulties navigating the process.

“Working families have faced unprecedented burdens over the last two years. If you are struggling to pay your mortgage or other homeowner-associated obligations, the ERMA program can help you get back on your feet,” said Lt. Governor Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs and Chair of the NJHMFA board. “We encourage all eligible homeowners to apply for assistance. 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.”

In December, New Jersey’s ERMA program became one of the earliest HAF plans to receive United States Department of Treasury approval to launch. The program is financed through the federal Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The ERMA application portal will open for applications at: http://www.njerma.com on Feb. 8 at 9AM.

Visit http://www.njhousing.gov/dca/hmfa/covid19/haf to review program eligibility 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 Jan. 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.

ERMA applications can be submitted using a personal computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Housing counselors are available to assist homeowners that need help completing the application or understanding all available options.

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.