In a couple of weeks, New Jersey homeowners struggling because of the pandemic will be able to apply for about $326 million in federal funds to help them stay in their homes, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.

Every state received millions of dollars through the federal Homeowner Assistance Fund under the American Rescue Plan Act to create and run programs for residents. On Feb. 8, New Jersey homeowners can begin applying for up to $35,000 for outstanding mortgage payments, delinquent property taxes, and other housing costs.

Pennsylvania received $350 million for the Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund, which will begin accepting applications Feb. 1.

Pandemic-era programs that paused struggling homeowners’ mortgage payments are ending, and foreclosure cases are resuming while the public health crisis and its financial consequences continue. New Jersey officials said they’re working with the courts to direct residents at risk of losing their homes to the new program.

» READ MORE: South Jersey counties are some of the most vulnerable housing markets in the pandemic

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency expects the Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance program to help 7,000 to 10,000 households with current funding but will aim to stretch funds as far as it can, said Melanie R. Walter, the agency’s executive director.

“We’re aware there could be 100,000″ people who need help to make their housing payments, she said. She acknowledged the high price of housing in New Jersey compared to other states.

New Jersey plans to focus its outreach on communities with disproportionately higher rates of at-risk homeowners, including northwestern Burlington County and northern Camden County.

“This program is providing a lifeline for individuals and their families that is also stabilizing the whole community,” Walter said. The program, which includes free housing counseling, is “about community preservation, family stability, and helping to ensure that coming out of the pandemic, our communities are stronger than they were going into it.”

» READ MORE: Foreclosure starts tick up in Pennsylvania, N.J., and nationwide

New Jersey residents can use the funds for single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums, and homes with up to four units, as long as the home is the owner’s primary residence. Pennsylvanians also must own their home as their primary residence to qualify for funds.

Financial hardships that make New Jersey homeowners eligible for assistance include lost income or increased expenses, such as having to adjust child-care arrangements, becoming a multigenerational household, or paying for funerals for family members who died from COVID-19.

Eligible households in New Jersey and Pennsylvania earn no more than 150% of the area median income. In this region, that’s $141,750 for a family of four. According to federal guidelines, 60% of states’ funds must go to households with incomes at or below 100% of area median income. That’s $94,500 for a family of four.

Applicants need to provide government-issued identification, income and bank statements, tax returns, mortgage statements, and other documents that show eligibility and need for assistance.

» READ MORE: Paused mortgage payments are resuming for many homeowners. Foreclosures and sales are sure to follow. (From August 2021)

Local housing counselors can answer questions about New Jersey’s program, help homeowners apply, and work with applicants’ mortgage lenders. Homeowners can call the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency at 855-647-7700 or email HAFServicing@njhmfa.gov to be connected with counselors. The program’s online portal at www.njerma.com will open for applications on Feb. 8 at 9 a.m.

Pennsylvania homeowners can visit www.pahaf.org or call the state program’s call center at 888-987-2423.

“Our mission is to help Pennsylvanians achieve housing stability despite the many hardships faced during these uncertain times,” Robin Wiessmann, head of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, said in a statement. The program “will provide critical support to eligible Pennsylvania homeowners, allowing families to recover and helping communities overcome the devastating financial and economic impacts of the pandemic.”

States must spend their federal funding by the end of September 2025.

Philadelphia Media Network is one of 21 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push toward economic justice. See all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.