JCHA COVID-19 Operational Frequently Asked Questions

(Last Updated 2/3/2021)


QUESTIONS:

  

1. Do I still need to pay my rent

2. What do I do if I have lost income

3. My recertification packet is due. How can I submit documents while JCHA’s office are closed to visitors? 

4. How can I submit payments/documents and obtain proof they were received?

5. I am currently on a repayment agreement; do I still have to make my monthly payments?

6. I was selected from the waiting list or I am in the eligibility process: how can I submit required documents? 

7. Can I get an HCVP voucher extension? 

8. What happens to my Informal Review/Informal Hearing appointment? 

9. I received a Proposed Termination Notice; how can I request a hearing? 

10. Is JCHA still processing evictions?

11. Is JCHA charging late fees?

12. What do I do if I am behind on rent?  (NEW)

13. Will maintenance staff address my work order request?

14. Do I need to wear a face covering/mask?

15. When will my annual unit inspection occur?

16. When will re-inspection of repairs to my unit occur? 

17. Will move-out extensions be granted to HCVP tenants whose move-out process is delayed due to the state of emergency? 

18. Is utility assistance available? 

19. I am having food or other necessities delivered to me at a public housing site. Can people making deliveries park on site?


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:


1. Do I still need to pay my rent

  

Yes, all JCHA residents must continue to pay rent. If you are a public housing resident or a Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) participant and your rental assistance is based on your income, you must continue to pay your rent/rental portion unless there are changes in your household income. If you or a household member have lost income recently due to COVID-19 or other factors, please contact your Site Manager or HCVP Housing Specialist for a possible rental adjustment as set forth below in Question 2 of this FAQ. If you have fallen behind on rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please see Question 12 of this FAQ for information about requesting a repayment agreement.


2. What do I do if I have lost income as a result of COVID-19

For public housing residents and HCVP participants, residential evictions due to nonpayment have been halted until July 27, 2020, during the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Residents and HCVP recipients should immediately report decreases in income to their Site Manager or HCVP Housing Specialist. Households who have lost income related to COVID-19 (e.g., inability to work due to illness, or to school or job site closures) should submit a request in writing for interim recertification (the process for evaluating whether a resident is eligible for a reduction in rent). If the income reduction is significant enough, a household may qualify to pay minimum rent. Households who are already paying minimum rent, or cannot afford to pay the minimum rent, can file for a hardship exemption.


Requests for interim recertification and/or hardship exemptions should be mailed/emailed to your Site Manager or HCVP Housing Specialist. Requests can also be dropped in the rent collection box at the Site Manager's office or in the drop-off mail slot at the JCHA main office. Office staff will call or email you to follow up. (See below a JCHA staff/site directory.)


If your family has experienced a loss or major reduction in income, you must provide verification of that change. Verifications include separation notices, letter from employers and/or pay stubs. Please be aware that you must continue to report income changes, as outlined in the Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP; see 12.10, “Interim Recertifications”) and Administrative Plan for HCVP (see Chapter 13 “Re-Certifications” Sec. D). If you are unable to provide the suggested documents, the JCHA will accept a self-certification. Please note that your rent is based on your income and, therefore, you must continue to pay your rent. 


Lastly, as a reminder, families who have opted to pay the Flat Rent may request to have a reexamination and return to the Formula-Based Method at any time for any of the following reasons: 

   The family’s income has decreased. 


  1. The family’s income has decreased. 

  2. The family’s circumstances have changed, increasing their expenses for childcare, medical care, etc. 

  3.  Other circumstances creating a hardship on the family such that the Formula Method would be  more financially feasible for the family. 



3. My recertification packet is due. How can I submit documents while JCHA’s office are closed to visitors? 

Documents may still be submitted to JCHA by mail or email during this time. There are also mail slots at each Public Housing development and at JCHA’s main office. See the last page of this document for a complete list of email and mailing addresses for JCHA Site Managers and HCVP Housing Specialists.


We may provide extensions on the receipt of documents, if requested. Call your Site Manager, HCVP Housing Specialist, or the JCHA main office with questions: 201-706-4600. 


4. How can I submit payments/documents and obtain proof they were received?

Public housing residents can submit payments/documents via mail or email to the site manager or drop them off in the mail slot on site. HCVP recipients can submit payments/documents via mail or email to their HCVP Housing Specialist or drop them off in the mail slot at the main office. HCVP repayment agreement money orders should be sent to “Attn: Ashly Hospital.”


Receipts will not be provided at this time. Confirmation that JCHA staff have received your check, money order, or recertification documents will be provided via phone or email within 2-3 business days. Prior to submission, you may take a picture of the check, money order, and/or documents.


5. I am currently on a repayment agreement; do I still have to make my monthly payments?

Unless you have lost income due to COVID-19 (i.e., you are unable to work due to illness or school/work site closures), you should continue to make payments per your repayment agreement. If your income is reduced due to COVID-19 and you are unable to make payments, please contact your Site Manager or HCVP Housing Specialist to discuss your repayment agreement as soon as possible.


6. I was selected from the waiting list or I am in the eligibility process; how can I submit required documents

Documents may still be submitted to JCHA by mail or email during this time: 


                  Mail: Jersey City Housing Authority

                            400 US Hwy 1, Marion Gardens (Bldg 7)

                            Attn: Applicant Selection Dept.

                            Jersey City, NJ 07306

               Emailapplicantselection@jcha.us 


JCHA may provide extensions on the receipt of documents, if requested. Call Applicant Selection at 201-706-4646 with questions. 


7. Can I get an HCVP voucher extension

Please submit a voucher extension request form. You can request a form from your assigned Housing Specialist or find one on our website: https://jerseycityha.org/hcvp-documents-%26-forms. Completion of the form does NOT signify or guarantee approval. 


8. What happens to my Informal Review/Informal Hearing appointment

All Informal Review/Informal Hearing appointments made prior to the start of the pandemic were postponed and have been rescheduled. As of June 2020, JCHA is conducting informal reviews and hearings via telephone or videoconference. 


9. I received a Proposed Termination Notice; how can I request a hearing? 

You can submit a written request for a hearing to your Site Manager or HCVP Housing Specialist via email, mail, or the drop off mail slots at JCHA’s main office or site management offices. Please visit JCHA’s staff directory page here.


10. Is JCHA still processing evictions?  

On March 19, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 106, which implemented a ban on all residential evictions due to the Public Health Emergency created by COVID-19. That ban will remain in effect until 60 days after the Public Health Emergency has ended. The ban is currently set to expire on April 18, 2021, unless another 30-day extension is issued. (For more information on Executive Order 106 and the state’s eviction moratorium, please go to the website at https://covid19.nj.gov/search.html?query=eviction+moratorium. As of September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) temporarily halted evictions for nonpayment of rent through January 31, 2021 by Executive Order of the President. As of January 29, 2021, this order has been extended through March 31, 2021. 


Throughout the state of emergency, JCHA has been monitoring other lease violations, including incidents involving drug or criminal activity, that directly impact the health and safety of residents. Eviction filings will continue as permitted by federal and state laws,

For information and guidance related to eviction prevention, HUD’s “Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit” may be found here: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PIH/documents/Attachment2_TenantBrochure.pdf


11. Will JCHA start charging late fees when the moratorium on evictions is over?

The JCHA will not resume charging late fees to its public housing residents until further notice. 

  

12. What do I do if I am behind on rent?

As per the lease and JCHA policy, public housing residents continue to be responsible for paying their rent and notifying JCHA of changes in income. As of February 2021, JCHA will offer repayment agreements to any resident who has fallen behind on rent. Residents should speak with their site managers to request a repayment agreement. The COVID-19 Repayment Agreement Policy can be found in the LIPH Interim Policies on the JCHA website.

  

13. Will maintenance staff address my work order request?

As of December 2, 2020, maintenance staff at JCHA’s public housing sites will suspend all non-emergency work orders. Only emergency work orders will be done until further notice. Prior to addressing any work order, residents will be asked a series of screening questions to assess the presence or risk of COVID-19 in the household, such as:


  • Are you or anyone in your household experiencing upper respiratory symptoms, fever, difficulty breathing and/or coughing?

  • Have you or anyone in your household come in contact with anyone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days?



If COVID-19 is confirmed or suspected to be present, the resident and all household members will be asked to remain in a separate room or other location while JCHA staff are in the unit. The household will also be asked to open windows if feasible while work is done to increase ventilation in the unit and reduce the presence of airborne virus particles.


All household members will be required to wear face coverings or masks while JCHA staff are in the unit. If the face coverings/masks are removed, JCHA staff will cease work. If a resident does not have a face covering/mask, the JCHA will provide members of the household with masks in order to address work orders. Young children who are unable to wear a face covering/mask must stay in a separate room or location while JCHA staff is in the unit. Household members must also maintain social distancing (minimum 6 feet) from JCHA staff while work is being conducted.


14. Do I need to wear a face covering/mask?

Residents, applicants, vendors, and members of the public are required to wear face coverings/masks when interacting with or receiving services from JCHA staff, including when unit inspections or work orders are conducted. To protect and safeguard the health of JCHA residents, staff, vendors and the public, face coverings/masks must be worn by all parties during any in-person interaction. JCHA staff have been instructed to cease work activities/services if someone they are interacting with removes their face covering/mask.


15. When will my annual unit inspection occur?

Unit inspections for public housing residents will resume as of July 13, 2020. These will be conducted in-person by your site manager. Prior to then inspection, residents will be asked a series of screening questions to assess the presence or risk of COVID-19 in the household. If COVID-19 is confirmed or suspected, the inspection will be postponed for at least 14 days, at which time the household will be rescreened.

For HCVP participants, JCHA is conducting biennial inspections and, therefore, your inspection may not need to be conducted this year. Until further notice, all inspections will be conducted via a virtual platform. In instances where this is not possible, our Inspectors will provide information about alternatives. The Inspections Team can be reached via phone or email as follows:

            Kurt Harris: 201-706-4728, kharris@jcha.us 

            Jose Ortiz: 201-706-4726, jortiz@jcha.us 

            Tony Persaud: 201-706-4662, tpersaud@jcha.us 


16. When will re-inspection of repairs to my unit occur

JCHA is allowing HCVP landlords to self-certify repairs at this time. Landlords must submit a clear, date-stamped, digital photo of the duly cited failed item(s) on or before the scheduled re-inspection date. If necessary, the Inspections Team will follow-up and review the repairs later. If a landlord is having difficulty procuring repairs, please contact an Inspector to request an extension. The extension must be requested prior to the scheduled inspection date. 


17. Will move-out extensions be granted to HCVP tenants whose move-out process is delayed due to the state of emergency

In most cases, JCHA can provide extensions to families who are unable to move at this time due to government restrictions (i.e., social distancing requirements of local, state, and/or federal government) or other impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., illness, underlying medical conditions that necessitate self-isolation as recommended by a medical professional, loss of job or childcare, etc.). If a family has an upcoming move-out date and COVID-19 has impeded them from moving, the family should contact the assigned Housing Specialist. We will follow our normal process by extending the contract if agreed to by both the participant and landlord. The agreement MUST be in writing. In most cases, the Mutual Termination of Agreement form will need to be completed and a new proposed move out date identified.


18. Is utility assistance available

Governor Murphy has asked utilities providers not to shut-off services due to nonpayment during this difficult time. Presently, both PSE&G and the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority have announced they will not shut off services due to nonpayment. For more information, visit their websites directly: https://nj.pseg.com/ and https://www.jcmua.com/covid-19. For information on the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) visit http://pacoagency.org/heap/.


19. I am having food or other necessities delivered to me at a public housing site. Can people making deliveries park on site?

Due to social distancing restrictions, JCHA recognizes the need for increased car traffic on public housing sites as deliveries are made. However, parking regulations remain in effect. Those without a permit to park may only park on-site to make deliveries for a brief amount of time (10-20 minutes at most).