GOVERNOR MURPHY AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OLIVER ANNOUNCE EMERGENCY GRANT FUNDING PROGRAM TO ASSIST SMALL LANDLORDS AND TENANTS
Office of Governor, Phil Murphy — May, 2020
$25 Million in CARES Act Funding to be Allocated to Reimburse Small Landlords Whose Tenants Missed Rent Payments between April and July 2020
TRENTON – As part of the Administration’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Phil Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver today announced the creation of the Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program. The program, administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, will provide emergency grant funding to small property owners for COVID-19 related decreases in rent revenue for a four-month period between April and July 2020.
Funded through the CARES Act, grant amounts will be generated based on the total amount of missed rental payments and the number of COVID-impacted rental units that serve low- and moderate-income tenants. Landlords who receive assistance will be required to pass along benefits to their tenants by forgiving back rent and late fees accumulated by COVID-19 impacted units.
“To emerge stronger from this crisis, we need to make direct investments in our hardest hit neighborhoods and communities,” said Governor Murphy. “Ensuring that responsible landlords can continue to maintain their properties and provide quality housing to our tenants is essential to our recovery. Through this program, we can also provide direct support to COVID-impacted renters by forgiving back-rent.”
“We know that many of New Jersey’s landlords are not companies or corporations. Rather, they are families and individuals. And like the families they rent to, they are struggling because they are often locked out of access to capital and federal resources,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves at Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and Chair of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) Board. “The number one priority of this program is to offer much-needed relief to small landlords, who will in turn pass along the benefits to their tenants who are also fighting to stay afloat in the midst of this ongoing public health and economic crisis.”
“No family should be without a home, especially in a national pandemic. Approximately 30% of all New Jersey renters and 27% of low- and moderate-income renters live in 3-10 unit buildings. We have designed this grant program to ensure that our most vulnerable renters and landlords get the help that they need,” said Charles A. Richman, Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. “At NJHMFA, our mission to ensure safe and equitable housing for every resident of New Jersey has never been more critical than during this crisis. These dollars will have the increased impact of securing financial sustainability for New Jersey’s families. HMFA is enormously proud to provide this assistance to landlords and tenants and thankful for Governor Murphy and Lt. Governor Oliver’s championing of this program.”
“No one should lose the roof over their head or their business because we failed to act during this crisis,” said Congressman Andy Kim. “I voted to pass the CARES Act because we needed bold action to help get our communities through this pandemic, and I’m proud to see programs like this being set up that will help our neighbors stay on their feet during these tough times.”
“This funding from the CARES Act will ensure that small landlords are able to maintain their livelihoods and support their families, and that tenants do not lose their homes during a pandemic,” said Congressman Tom Malinowski. “I will continue to fight in Congress to bring federal resources home to help struggling New Jerseyans get through this crisis.”
One-third of program funds will be reserved for applicants who are registered in DCA’s RIMS database as individual or family owners. Qualified applicants must meet the following specifications:
Applications must be submitted between August 19th at 9:00 a.m. and August 26th at 1:00 p.m. to be considered.
Grant funding will be allocated on a case by case basis, based on the number of COVID-impacted units, and the amount of missed rent. Applicants must be the Primary Property Owner of a residential rental property in New Jersey and be registered with DCA’s Bureau of Housing Inspection as of July 17, 2020. Applicants can check here to see if their property is registered.
For more information on the Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program, visit www.njhousing.gov/rentals/sleg
Nicole Fallon, Uschamber.com — July, 2020
Before the world even knew about coronavirus, financial experts predicted the next economic downturn would be coming in 2020. Now, several months into a global pandemic, those experts say the “COVID-19 Recession” is officially here, and it’s expected to be the worst one since World War II.
Most businesses felt the immediate financial impact when states issued stay-at-home orders and shut down many non-essential businesses. Despite nationwide phased reopenings, many entrepreneurs are preparing for – and worried about – the long-term effects of lost revenue and foot traffic due to public health concerns and mass unemployment.
While the post-COVID recession is poised to hit businesses hard, there are ways to make it through periods of widespread economic hardship. Below, experienced entrepreneurs share their best advice for creating a recession-proof business plan and adapting your business model to the current climate.
The pandemic has given small businesses a crash course in adaptability. Businesses that weren’t operating online or remotely suddenly found themselves making huge changes to their business model on the fly. This willingness to pivot quickly and be flexible with your previous plans is the key to surviving the current recession.
“You can’t be married to any specific strategy, product or service,” said Abhi Lokesh, CEO and co-founder of Fracture. “You’ve got to be willing to try everything you can, see what works and pivot accordingly.”
Lokesh, who launched Fracture at the height of the Great Recession in 2009, acknowledges that change can be uncomfortable and difficult, but entrepreneurs can’t let pride, stubbornness or tradition get in the way of survival.
“It’s a matter of being incredibly detail-oriented and leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of being as financially stable as possible,” he told CO —.
LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS’ CURRENT NEEDS
Understanding and serving your customers’ needs is important at any time, but it’s especially important to empathize with their current struggles and changing purchasing behaviors right now.
Eli Diament, founder and director of Azurite Consulting, emphasized the importance of using primary research to better understand these changes. By collecting insights from consumers and suppliers in the form of focus groups, surveys and one-on-one interviews, your business will be better able to adapt to rapidly-changing needs and behaviors.
“If done effectively, primary research will allow you to tap into the decision makers and users you want and need to hear from,” Diament added. “A well-designed and precisely targeted survey can collect these insights, far better than any panel, ‘gut feel’ or word-of-mouth.”
MASTER THE ART OF CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT
Keeping a close eye on expenses and cash flow can help you plan for your financial future and avoid overspending in certain areas of your business.
“Explore innovative way to make sales and slash cash spending,” said Lisa Vitale, business matchmaker at BarterPays!. “This is going to be a long, financially-lean road. Seek out alternate revenue streams to continue building your client base and allowing you to preserve your financial stability, even when existing customer sales are down.”
William Vanderveer, CEO of Redefine Healthcare, always recommends keeping six months’ worth of expenses in savings in case you don’t see the sales you’d hoped for. However, this isn’t always possible, especially for businesses that depleted their savings trying to stay afloat through COVID-19.
“For … business owners [who are] unable to preserve this amount of capital, I would recommend obtaining lines of credit representing similar cash requirements,” said Vanderveer.
To save even more money, David Foley, CEO of Unify Cosmos, advised business owners to shift more processes into the digital realm.
“Investments should be made to make the most out of the limited capital,” Foley said. “This is the time where businesses need to look towards an online platform to better serve their clients with the use of VR tours, video calls and complete reports that can be easily sent online.”
NEGOTIATE NEW TERMS WITH YOUR VENDORS
Vendor expenses can add up quickly, and during a financial crisis, discussing concessions or negotiating new terms with vendors and suppliers can be extremely helpful to all parties involved.
“Many would like to retain your business after things calm down and will be willing to work with you,” said Vanderveer.
Lokesh recommended reviewing every vendor agreement and seeking flexible monthly contracts in place of long-term commitments.
“Negotiate payment terms to extend cash flow and runway,” said Lokesh. “Redefine what’s a ‘nice to have’ versus a ‘need to have’ for the business.”
Tyler Read, CEO of PTPioneer, said the best way to recession-proof your business plan is to diversify every element of your business, especially your income streams and the markets you serve.
“If you provide just one service in one industry or have all of your money resting on the success of one product, there’s every likelihood that your business will fail when a recession hits and people stop spending money on that particular service or product,” Read said. “Put passive income streams in place and expand your offerings to serve a greater diversity of industries or people.”
Read also recommended diversifying your staff to bring diverse perspectives to the table.
“The more diversity you have in your company, the more creative and innovative ideas you’ll have access to when a crisis hits,” he added.
KEEP INVESTING IN YOUR BUSINESS
Surviving the current economic downturn will be difficult for any business owner, but keep looking for opportunities, even when things feel bleak, said Vitale.
“Don’t stop marketing and advertising,” she said. “Businesses that continue to invest in themselves and advertise during recessions come back stronger and bounce back faster than those that [don’t].”
CO — aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.