CARES Act Grants

Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

July 13, 2021

The country is gradually re-opening and COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, however, our residents are still suffering from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

In support of our residents in need, Union County is launching an Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to provide financial relief for Union County residents unable to meet their rental obligation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program allows eligible applicants to receive up to 12 months of assistance for unpaid back rent, as well as gas and electric utility expenses.

To make sure that every eligible tenant has an opportunity to apply for a grant, we are creating an online information portal in both English and Spanish. The portal will open for landlords to pre-register on Monday, July 26, and it will open for tenant applications on Monday, August 2.

To qualify for Union County ERAP funding, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Union County resident primarily responsible for paying rent;
  • Make less than 80% of the average median income of Union County (e.g., less than $78,500 for a family of four);
  • Experienced a loss of income since March 13, 2020 related to the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • Provide required supporting documentation (copies of identification, tax returns, lease or other proof of income/residence may be acceptable, etc.).

Once the application is submitted, applicants will be notified of the funding decision. If approved, the funds will be provided to the landlord or utility provider on their behalf.

More information on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program will be available soon. Please check the County website,, or follow us on social media for updates.

Rest Easy Caregivers Grant Program

November 20, 2020

The Union County Freeholder Board is pleased to announce the new “Rest Easy Caregivers” grant opportunities for families in need of assistance in caring for children with disabilities and special needs during the COVID-19 outbreak. Approximately $1 million of Federal CARES Act dollars with fund the grant program.

The Rest Easy Caregivers grant program will provide for in-home respite services Monday through Saturday, with a limit of 10 hours weekly. Expenses covered by the program also include administrative support and supplies needed for COVID-19 prevention.

The grant program covers all 21 municipalities; however, applications will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. Priority will be given to applicants residing in designated Communities of Opportunity, as identified in the 2019 Union County Department of Human Services Community Needs Assessment. The Communities of Opportunity include Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, Plainfield, Roselle, Rahway, and the Township of Union.

Rent Relief Grant Program

November 13, 2020

The Union County Freeholder Board is pleased to announce a rent relief program for eligible residents adversely impacted by COVID-19. Residents can apply through one of three partner non-profit agencies for needed assistance beginning November 16. The Board approved funding for the program through the federal CARES Act on November 12.

A total of $1,350,000 will be available through federal funds for residents who have fallen behind in payments as a result of job loss or income reduction. The program will provide a minimum of three months of assistance. An additional three months of assistance will be provided to eligible County renters in need of further assistance.

Emergency Restaurant Grant Program

October 8, 2020

Restaurants in Union County that have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak may be eligible to receive federal CARES Act funding through the new Union County COVID-19 Emergency Restaurant Grant program established by the Freeholder Board.

The new program provides a total of $2 million to qualified restaurants located in Union County on a first come, first served basis. A maximum of $20,000 per grant applies.

Safe Learning Settings Grant Program

August 26, 2020

The Safe Learning Settings Grant helps low-income families pay their child care cost. You must live in Union County, New Jersey and have a child or children between ages 5 and 13 who need child care while you are working or attending an education or training program. By completing this application, Union County will be able to determine if you and your family are eligible to receive subsidized funding to help pay for your child care services. Only applications that are complete will be considered.

Non-Profit Organization Grant Program

September 16, 2020

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce two new grant programs funded through the CARES Act: the Safe Learning Settings grant program and the Non-Profit Organization grant program.

As part of Union County’s response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency, the Union County CARES Act Safe Learning Settings Grant will support child care costs for working Union County families. This program will offset child care costs to help parents continue to work. 

The Union County CARES Act Non-Profit Grant will be used to support the on-going work of approximately 200 local non-profit organizations that provide critical services that support the County’s prevention, preparation, and ongoing response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. It will provide them with the financial support they need to continue to reopen, or remain open safely, to provide county residents with much needed supports and services during the pandemic.

On December 4th, the grant was updated.

Library Grant Program

August 17, 2020

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications from municipal libraries for 2020 Union County Library Grant awards. Letters were mailed out to all 20 municipal libraries last week, and applications must be submitted to the office of Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund by September 18, 2020.

A total of $500,000 will be made available for approved submissions to be used by libraries for programming and purchases directly related to needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

School Grant Program

July 29, 2020

The Union County Freeholder Board today announced that the County is setting aside $4 million in federal CARES Act funds to assist local school districts with planning for re-opening this fall during the COVID-19 outbreak.

School districts may use their funds to help defray costs for a variety of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as health monitoring, cleaning/disinfecting protocols, and protective equipment.

Relief Grant Program for Small Businesses

July 7, 2020

The Union County Freeholder Board today announced the initial-round launch of the Union County Covid-19 Relief Grant Program for small businesses that have been impacted by the health emergency.

The grant program will make available a total of $2 million in CARES Act relief funds. Out of this funding, the program will provide grants up to $20,000 to eligible small businesses to cover three month’s rent, property mortgage, utility and insurance expenses. The grant will be available to small businesses located within the boundaries of Union County with 25 or less employees prior to the COVID emergency.

The Board authorized an additional $2 million in funding with a focus on certified minority/women/veteran/LGBTQ/disabled business owner.