Somerset County Partners with Library System to Expand Reach of $7.76M Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Partnership Puts ERAP Personnel in Direct Contact with Individuals and Communities Most Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic

Post Date: 02/15/2022 10:08 AM

Partnership Puts ERAP Personnel in Direct Contact with Individuals and Communities Most Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic 

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Somerset County is partnering with the Somerset County Library System to ensure that every Somerset County resident at risk of eviction due to COVID losses is aware of the County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The County has hired six ERAP Educators, including three who are bilingual, to be available in libraries throughout the county to provide information on the program and help eligible residents complete applications.

“No one should face eviction because of financial difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commissioner Director Shanel Y. Robinson. “The new ERAP Educators program at Somerset County libraries is our latest strategy to reach the most affected areas and help families maintain a stable home.”

Somerset County has allocated approximately $4.25 million of its initial ERAP award of $7.76 million to help more than 325 families stay in their homes, and is working to distribute the remaining $2.5 million in the coming months. The program will provide up to 18 months of support, including up to 12 months of rent or utility arrears and up to six months of future expenses.

“In my first week meeting people at the libraries, I completed five applications for tenants who were eligible for ERAP assistance,” said Carolina Guerrero, a founding ERAP Educator. “A lot of people don’t know about the program, and when they see our display and learn about the program, they are relieved. It’s such a joy to be able to help these families stay in the homes and communities they love.”

Although walk-ins are welcome, residents can make appointments with an ERAP Educator by visiting the Somerset County Library System website at Eligible Somerset County residents can also apply directly by downloading the form at and submitting it via email to

“The support Somerset County provides through ERAP Educators not only means families can stay in their homes and kids in their schools, but also landlords are made whole and able to keep expenses and property upkeep current,” said Deputy Director Melonie Marano. “The ERAP program is also vital to Somerset County’s full economic recovery from the COVID pandemic, helping employees remain in homes near their jobs and injecting millions of dollars into local economies to support our retail stores, restaurants, and other businesses.”

Somerset County began the ERAP program in September when New Jersey courts resumed scheduling mandatory settlement conferences after a moratorium due to the COVID pandemic. While evictions continued to be on hold through the new year, Somerset County staff were on hand at the very first hearings to offer on the spot assistance. Somerset County continues to partner with the courts to identify eligible tenants and landlords even as it broadens its efforts to directly reach more impacted communities.

Somerset County is also looking for additional community partners such as non-profits, community organizations, and houses of worship who may want to host ERAP Educators to help their own constituencies. Interested parties should reach out to or (908)231-7128 to learn more about the program.

Somerset County residents can also seek rental assistance via:

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