NJ is opening its rental assistance waitlist for low-income residents. Here's how to apply

New Jersey is opening a state rental assistance lottery for nearly two weeks in July for low-income elderly residents, families, people with disabilities and those experiencing homelessness.

The so-called "SRAP voucher" subsidizes a tenant's rent. A voucher holder would spend between 25% and 40% of their income on rent, and the voucher would cover the difference. This voucher can be used only in New Jersey and by New Jersey residents, unlike a Section 8 or housing choice voucher, which can be used across the country.

Those selected in the lottery will be added to a waitlist to be eligible to receive vouchers as they become available, which the Department of Community Affairs anticipates will be within two to three years.

New Jerseyans can apply for the waitlist at waitlistcheck.com/NJ559 from 9 a.m. on Monday, July 11, to 5 p.m. on Friday, July 22. Those who need assistance can call 609-292-4080 and select option 9.

The state will choose 4,000 applications through a lottery, or 1,000 applications each for the following categories:

  • Elderly: Head of household must be 62 years or older.

  • Family: Head of household is 18 years or older or an emancipated minor; with or without children.

  • Disabled: Head of household or spouse is permanently disabled.

  • Homeless: A household lacks a "fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence."

Results will be emailed and posted online on or after Aug. 15. An applicant's status will be marked as "Active" if selected to the waitlist; if he or she is not accepted, the status will be marked as "Inactive" at WaitlistCheck.com/NJ559.

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A family must fall below certain income requirements depending on the number of family members and the county where they live. For instance, a single person in Bergen County must earn less than $34,275; a two-person family in Bergen County must earn less than $39,200; and a four-person family in Bergen County must earn less than $48,950.

To be eligible, a family must fall below the following income limits:

An applicant must live in New Jersey and have lived in the state for at least six months before applying. The head of household must be a U.S. citizen or have been lawfully admitted to the U.S.

A New Jerseyan can apply using more than one category of aid, but cannot submit multiple applications for different family members within the same category.

Residents must have an email address to apply. The applicant also requires an address; for those experiencing homelessness, the state recommends asking a family member or friend. A social service agency or shelter may allow those without a stable living situation to use its address.

Those with criminal backgrounds may apply. The state will conduct a background screening on every family member 18 or older. New Jersey could deny benefits to applicants convicted of a sex crime, a violent criminal act or drug trafficking, among other crimes.

The application requires a person to list the name, Social Security number, and date of birth for everyone in the household. An applicant must also list all income earned by every family member, including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Social Security Retirement, Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, pensions, child support, alimony, unemployment, temporary disability, wages and self-employment earnings.

Those applying to the "disabled" and "homeless" categories must provide proof of their disability or living situation if they are selected to the waiting list.

The application is available in 90 languages, and the language choice can be changed by selecting a drop-down button in the top right corner of the webpage.

For more information, visit the Department of Community Affairs website. Para información en español: nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/srap_SP.html.

Ashley Balcerzak is a reporter covering affordable housing and its intersection of how we live in New Jersey. For unlimited access to her work, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: balcerzaka@northjersey.com

Twitter: @abalcerzak

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: NJ rental assistance: How to apply for vouchers, get on waitlist