The prize for winners of this N.J. lottery? A spot on a waiting list

New Jersey’s Division of Housing and Community Resources will accept applications through Friday from residents with “extremely low” incomes who wish to be included in a lottery for the State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP),  a voucher system used to help pay rent.

Residents who are adult, elderly, or disabled and have annual incomes in the “extremely low income” category may apply no later than 5 p.m. at www.WaitListCheck.com/nj559.

Applicants must provide an email address. The lottery will be held next week. The names of those who gain places on the waiting list will be posted on the website starting March 24, and those individuals also will be notified by email.

The division is to choose 1,400 residents  62 and older, 480 who are disabled, and 1,240 people age 18 and older.  

Maximum-income thresholds vary by county, with a low of $13,850 in annual income for a one-person household in Cumberland County to a high of $21,850 in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties.

In Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties, an applicant in a one-person household may earn no more than $16,900 a year. A two-person household may earn no more than $19,300, and a four-person household no more than $28,440. People who win spots on the waiting list will need to show proof of residency.

Tammori Petty, spokesperson for the Department of Community Affairs, which includes the division, said the department opens a waiting list when the existing list is “close to exhausting.” The current SRAP list is down to 431 names, said Petty.

“We anticipate we will be able to serve a few hundred people very shortly after the waiting-list lottery,” Petty said, but she cautioned that future availability of the vouchers “depends on funding.” She said SRAP is not the federal Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance program that DCA also operates.

Once a person or household on the SRAP list comes to the top, the division sends an application package to further determine eligibility. Once qualified, a person is issued vouchers to assist in paying rent for housing that meets state standards.

Disabled applicants requiring special assistance with their preapplications may call the DCA at 609-292-4080 and select Option 8 from the menu.