New Jersey Resources
Housing Counseling Agencies
Whether you are interested in buying or renting, housing counseling agencies are an important source of housing information, advice, counseling, education, and financing. In this section we will tell you how to locate the one nearest you.
HUD Housing Counseling Agencies
- Look for the section “I Want to” in the middle of the HUD homepage. Click on the link that reads “Talk to a Housing Counselor.”
- That link will bring you to a new page where you can click on a link to search for a housing counseling agency. You may also call 800-569-4287 for HUD’s interactive system.
- Click on New Jersey, and it will bring up a list of all the HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in the state, including a brief description of the services these agencies provide and their contact information. You can scan the listings to find the agency that is most convenient for you. National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling Adoption of the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling shows that an organization is dedicated to providing a high level of quality and professionalism that current and future homeowners can recognize and expect. High standards encourage excellence and help guide professional conduct and decision-making in the field. You can find an organization near you that has adopted these Standards at www.homeownershipstandards.org.
Working with an organization that has adopted the National Industry Standards gives existing and future homeowners the confidence that counselors/educators will:
- Provide their clients with correct and consistent information
- Represent a solid source of information to draw on before and after the home purchase.
- Have the tools and knowledge to support their work.
- Have pledged to serve clients with competence, fairness, and respect
The NeighborWorks® Network
NeighborWorks® America supports over 235 independent, community-based nonprofit organizations across the country known as the NeighborWorks® Network. These nonprofits provide valuable housing-related services in more than 4,500 communities in America. They are staffed by counselors who serve as advocates to families who already own their homes or who are interested in pursuing homeownership. Services include prepurchase counseling, financial fitness classes, default and foreclosure prevention counseling, affordable financing and a host of other products and services. To locate the NeighborWorks® Network member nearest you, go to www.nw.org and use the “Find a NeighborWorks® Organization” link located on the right hand side of the home page. You can search by your zip code or search the state of New Jersey.
NeighborWorks® Center for Foreclosure Solutions
The NeighborWorks® Center for Foreclosure Solutions (CFS) offers free counseling nationwide through its hotline at 888-995-HOPE (4673). If you are delinquent and facing foreclosure, its trained counselors may be able to help you develop a budget and spending plan that can get you back on track.
At http://nw.org/network/foreclosure/default.asp you can find links to locate a foreclosure counselor, learn about mortgage modification scams, and explain mortgage refinance and modification options. Also available are links to videos and other resources on what to do when facing foreclosure, how to prevent foreclosure, and other topics.
Finding Affordable Rental Units in New Jersey New Jersey Housing Resource Center (NJHRC)
Search for available rental housing on the New Jersey Housing Resource Center (NJHRC) website, www.njhrc.gov. Landlords throughout New Jersey are opening their available properties to Hurricane Sandy survivors. The site hosts information on available properties statewide, and the database is updated daily. Simply visit the website at www.njhrc.gov and click on “Find Housing” to get started. Or, call toll-free for housing information at 1-877-428-8844.
Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
You can find a list of all the public housing authorities in New Jersey at http://portal.hud.gov/ hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing/pha/contacts. Search for one that is in or near the area you wish to live in. These agencies typically administer both public housing and the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.
New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency
637 South Clinton Avenue
Trenton, NJ 08650
Consumer Hotline: 800-NJ House (800-654-6873)
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) is dedicated to increasing the availability of and accessibility to safe, decent, and affordable housing to families in New Jersey. In some cases this may mean working with traditional affordable housing developments serving New Jersey’s most needy families. In other instances it is working with First-Time Homebuyers, senior citizens, and/or the disabled in our special needs communities. In every situation HMFA is committed to make quality housing available at costs affordable to New Jersey residents.
The New Jersey HMFA has assembled a list of housing resources for those New Jersey residents who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. Visit the website shown above for more information.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available to residents throughout New Jersey who were living or working in New Jersey at the time of the disaster, and who are unemployed as a direct result of the damages caused by the storm. Most impacted workers may already qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance at www.njuifile.net. The federal DUA is a special program that covers many people who otherwise may not be eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance. If you are unemployed because of the disaster that began on October 28, you should FIRST file for unemployment insurance benefits through the state website www.njuifile.net. Claims registered online are processed faster. However, if needed, you may also file a claim by telephone by contacting the state Department of Labor’s Re-employment Call Centers at:
North Jersey: 201-601-4100
Central Jersey: 732-761-2020
South Jersey: 856-507-2340
Learn more about Unemployment Insurance and job search assistance. www.nj211.org/images/ HurricaneSandy/employmentdua.pdf
Get more information on related programs and services from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wnjpin/wnjpin_index.html
Low-Cost and No-Cost Legal Assistance
Legal Services of New Jersey can assist with civil legal services for low-income people including housing, family, consumer, public entitlements, education, employment, and health care access. Please visit www.lsnj.org, or call 888-LSNJ-LAW (888-576-5529).
Disaster Legal Services provided for free by the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, www.americanbar.org/disaster or 888-541-1900, is now available for survivors in New Jersey facing legal issues due to Hurricane Sandy. Residents who cannot afford to pay an attorney can call the hotline to request free legal assistance.
The type of legal assistance or counseling available includes:
- Replacing legal documents that may have been lost due to flooding Life, medical, and property insurance-related claims
- Consumer protection matters, remedies, and procedures Mortgage-foreclosure problems
- Landlord/tenant problems
- FEMA creditor-debtor matters
Through an intake process, callers will be matched with a volunteer attorney who can provide assistance or general legal information. Callers should say that they are seeking legal assistance related to Hurricane Sandy. The hotline will be staffed during normal business hours, but messages can be left at any time.
The hotline is part of a long-standing partnership between FEMA and the ABA, and is administered by the New Jersey State Bar Association through its Mass Disaster Response Program.
Free legal services for nonprofit organizations are also available. The Pro Bono Partnership provides business and transactional legal services without charge to nonprofit organizations serving the disadvantaged — enhancing the quality of life in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Contact them for legal assistance on issues that your organization may be facing as a result of Hurricane Sandy, such as questions concerning employee compensation, real estate issues, or insurance coverage. Learn more at www.probonopartner.org.
Resources for Buying and Selling
To find real estate agents in New Jersey, visit www.njrealtor.com. RealSource Association of REALTORS® is the professional association serving more than 3,000 REALTOR® Members throughout northeastern New Jersey (Bergen, Passaic, Hudson Counties). RealSource also serves as a resource for buyers and sellers — offering valuable real estate information, tips, and suggestions, local market statistics and much more.
If you are interested in “for sale by owner” (FSBO) listings, look for print ads in the entrance of your local shopping center or search online. A few options for New Jersey that came up on a recent online search are listed below, but there are others as well.
Finding a Contractor
Home Advisor.com (formerly known as ServiceMagic.com) can help you find contractors to fit your needs. If you answer some simple questions about your building needs, at the Home Advisor website you can find a list of prescreened contractors.
New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs License Verification System www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/LVinfo.htm
This is a real-time system with access to the most current professional license information.
Altert:Creating a Healthy Home: A Field Guide for Clean-Up of Flooded Homes
This is a practical guide developed by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., the National Center for Healthy Housing, NeighborWorks® America, and Neighborhood Housing Services of New
Orleans. The methods were tested on four flooded homes in New Orleans. You can download the guide for free at http://www. practitionerresources.org/cache/documents/54278. pdf or http://www.nchh. org/tabid/139/default. aspx?ContentID=158
The Landlord Academy offers introductory and continuing education online to landlords and property managers.
The Property Owners Association of New Jersey www.poanj.org
The Property Owners Association of New Jersey, Inc. exists to bring together owners and operators of residential real estate, interested persons, and related industry personnel for educational and information sharing purposes. The organization is comprised of owners and managers of apartment units and other individuals who work in fields related to the housing industry. Online training is offered.
Faith-Based Organizations and Social Service Agencies
2-1-1 Search is a search engine that finds 2-1-1 call centers or other information and referral related sites in the United States. New Jersey 2-1-1 has compiled a comprehensive list of disaster response and social service providers organized by county.
Check with Catholic Charities for mental health services, information and referral, help with rent or mortgage payments, and assistance with a range of other post-disaster issues. See the website to find the Catholic Charities nearest to you.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is responding to Hurricane Sandy by providing community clean up, emergency home repairs, rehab services and on-going support through Habitat ReStores which provides discounted construction materials and furniture. Visit the website for more information.
Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey (LSM/NJ)
3 Manhattan Drive
Burlington, NJ 08016
Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey (LSM/NJ) is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization whose scope of services is broad. Each year LSM/NJ reaches out and assists more than 5,300 people — providing hospitality, healing, and hope to residents of New Jersey regardless of religious affiliation or background. As a mission-driven organization, we continually work to create new programs and build facilities to care for those individuals and families that require our help.
The Red Cross responds to approximately 70,000 disasters in the United States every year, ranging from home fires that affect a single family to hurricanes that affect tens of thousands. The Red Cross provides shelter, food, health and mental health services to help families and entire communities get back on their feet. Find your local Red Cross chapter by visiting the website.
The Salvation Army New Jersey Divisional Headquarters
P.O. Box 3170
Union, NJ 07083
New Jersey has quite a number of Salvation Army locations. The best way to find the one closest to you is to look online at the website above, or to call the office of the New Jersey Divisional Headquarters. The area command office, listed above, either offers or coordinates the Salvation Army’s social services in their area.
United Way of New Jersey
There are 25 United Ways in New Jersey. On the United Way of New Jersey website listed above, you can click on a link to find the closest United Way office.
Community Action Agencies (CAA)
Community Action Agencies provide a range of social services to help low-income individuals, families (including homeless individuals and families), migrants, and the elderly poor. You must meet income guidelines in order to qualify for assistance. In New Jersey, the New Jersey Community
Action Association is a good place to search for the CAA nearest you. While they vary slightly around the state, most Community Action Agencies offer:
- Housing (including weatherization)
- Emergency services
- Employment assistance
- Income management