When searching for affordable places to live, thousands of New Jerseyans turn to public housing agencies in the state’s largest cities. However, the process of applying for a unit within a Garden State housing project is far from simple. In fact, some municipalities have so many people who would like to become public housing tenants and so few apartments available that the waiting lists have been closed and potential residents have been turned away.
One of these communities was Jersey City, until today. The Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA) has reopened its public housing program waitlist, but only for one week. Starting today and concluding this Sunday, August 12, at 11:59 p.m., individuals and families whose income is below the federal limits for public housing that would like to be added to the list can fill out an application at JerseyCityHA.MyHousing.com.
All applications must be filled out digitally in English or Spanish and applicants must meet a variety of requirements from both the JCHA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that will be listed once users log into the website. Those who have questions can call (201) 706-4699, according to a statement from the JCHA, and public computers for applicants without internet access are available at locations across the city including some shelters and Jersey City Free Public Library branches. Staff members from several local organizations will reportedly be on site at several of these locations to assist residents with their applications.
While applicants do not have to currently live or work within city limits, the JCHA’s statement says that those who do will be given preference. However, not everyone who applies is guaranteed to end up on the waiting list this time since “a set number of preliminary applications will be selected using a computerized random selection process.”
The JCHA operates several complexes throughout Jersey City, including Marion Gardens on Dales Avenue in Ward B and Curries Woods in Ward A near the Bayonne border and also administers public vouchers for privately owned buildings. In its 2018 annual plan, the agency reported that 5,367 families were already on the waiting list.
Jersey City’s announcement came while the Newark Housing Authority was briefly accepting applications for its public housing family waiting list, but the pre-application period in Newark has since concluded.