The state is putting more money into a program that will help New Jersey residents from losing their homes due to the pandemic.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced Feb. 16 that $10 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) will be allocated to support New Jersey’s Foreclosure Prevention Act program administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA). NJHMFA will use these funds to stabilize communities through supportive homeowner interventions and vacancy rehabilitation and sale.
“The Foreclosure Prevention Act was more than a decade in the making. My administration is proud to have signed this landmark legislation adding to our state’s capacity to address the concerns of current New Jersey homeowners and future homebuyers,” said Murphy during his weekly COVID press briefing. “Today’s funding will permit this program to launch at scale and continue to grow.”
The governor noted the program will not only focus on helping families facing foreclosure but keep at bay predatory investors who buy up homes and protects communities from being negatively impacted by the presence of an abandoned home.
The Murphy administration anticipates using these funds to purchase non-performing mortgage notes from the FHA prior to foreclosure proceedings. If the homeowner occupies the property, efforts will be made to assist the homeowner. If the property has been abandoned, steps will be taken to obtain title, complete any required rehabilitation, and return the home to the single-family market.
Assemblywoman Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27), the lead sponsor of the law creating the program, said the infusion of ARP funds will stabilize this initiative, thereby enabling the agency to continue to provide much needed assistance to families in dire financial straits.
“The threat of imminent foreclosure is one of the most daunting financial challenges a family will ever face. The upheaval and disruption can cause irreversible damage,” said Jasey in a press statement. “It also stabilizes neighborhoods by preventing the eyesore of vacant and abandoned building that depreciate home values.”
Lawmakers are attempting to avert a scenario that followed the 2008 financial crisis, where New Jersey’s single-family residential market was decimated, with many properties purchased by investors for rental purposes, reducing the stock of affordable single-family homes. Nationwide, the financial impact of COVID-19 on homeowners may lead to a similar — if not greater — loss of single-family homes.
“We have made great strides to address the previous foreclosure crisis in New Jersey and we do not want history to repeat itself,” said State Sen. Troy Singleton (D-7). “This will keep as many families as possible in their existing homes, which will prevent a tidal wave of new foreclosures and even homelessness.”
The cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey as of Feb. 16 was 1,858,228 with 2,235 total new PCR cases. There were 345 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 292,123. The total number of individual cases for the state is 2,150,351.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 61 confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 29,595. The state listed probable deaths at 2,949, bringing the overall total to 32,544. State officials noted 20 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Feb. 16, Bergen had a total of 133 new confirmed cases and 61 new probable cases, Essex 157 new cases and 20 new probable case, Hudson 105 new cases and 20 new probable cases, Morris 48 new confirmed cases and 19 new probable cases, Passaic 94 new cases and 14 new probable cases, Sussex 20 new cases and one new probable case, and Warren 13 new cases and two new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 3,227, followed by Bergen at 3,058, Hudson with 2,456, Passaic at 2,095, Morris at 1,207, Sussex at 369, and Warren County at 304.
In regards to probable deaths reported Feb. 14, Bergen has 321, Essex has 311, Morris has 291, Hudson has 223, Passaic has 200, Sussex has 83 and Warren has 27.
As for the rate of transmission reported Feb. 16, it remained at 0.53 for the second day in a row. The daily rate of infections from those tested Feb. 12 was 7.0%; by region, the rate was 6.4% in the North, 7.3% in the Central region and 8.1% in the South.
The state’s dashboard had a count of 1,534 patients hospitalized as all but one of the 71 hospitals in the Garden State filed reports Feb. 16. Murphy said during his briefing that their is a reporting error that is inflating the numbers of those hospitalized. By region, there were 468 in the North, 680 in the Central and 386 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 221 are in intensive care units and 143 on ventilators. A total of 181 patients were discharged in the last 24 hour reporting period.
Officials have continually cited transmission rate, hospitalizations, intensive care units, ventilators and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 522 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 26,558 of the cases, broken down between 12,242 residents and 14,316 staff.
Cumulatively, 2,359 long-term care facilities have reported an outbreak infecting 46,401 residents and 37,726 staff, for a total of 84,127.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 9,192 on Feb. 16. The facilities are reporting to the state 8,480 residents deaths and 149 staff deaths.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 13,586,032 in-state, plus an additional 556,441 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 14,142,473 as of Feb. 16.
Of those who have received the vaccine, 6,467,808 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 222,522 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 6,690,330. With just under 8.5 million eligible in New Jersey to be vaccinated, 77% are fully vaccinated and 91% have received at least one dose.
State officials reported boosters and third shots of 1,545,222 for Pfizer and 1,291,935 for Moderna. A total of 62,390 New Jerseyans have received their Johnson & Johnson booster shot. Overall, 2,899,547 have received a booster or third shot. Overall, 51% of the 5.7 million of those eligible have received their booster.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has 709,650 residents fully vaccinated, Essex 575,898, Hudson 515,570, Morris 380,699, Passaic 350,489, Sussex 91,236, and Warren 59,351.
According to the state dashboard with 64.6% of all New Jersey schools reporting, new student cases totaled 3,910 and new staff cases 1,036 in the last week as of Feb. 6. Cumulatively, 132,263 cases have been reported— 103,614 students and 28,649 staffers.
In regards to outbreaks related to in-school transmissions as of Feb. 15, the state has tracked 503 school outbreaks and 3,433 cases linked to those outbreaks since the 2021/2022 school year starting Aug. 7, up 19 outbreaks and 178 cases from the week previous.
Outbreaks are defined as three or more laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff with onsets within a 14 day period, linked within the school setting, do not share a household, and were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during standard case investigation or contact tracing.
For North Jersey in the new report, Bergen County has 57 confirmed outbreaks with 328 cases, Morris County has 40 confirmed outbreaks with 246 cases, Essex County has 33 confirmed outbreaks with 232 cases, Passaic County has 22 confirmed outbreaks with 188 cases, Sussex has 34 confirmed outbreaks with 177 cases, Hudson County has 19 confirmed outbreaks with 92 cases and Warren County has two confirmed outbreaks with 15 cases.