Rental aid program open
Published 2:25 pm Friday, July 17, 2020
Gov. John Bel Edwards recently announced the launch of what will be at least a $24 million emergency rental assistance program for renters experiencing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Administered and funded by the Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) in partnership with the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD), the Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program is designed to help households financially impacted as a result of shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours or unpaid leave due to the pandemic.
The first phase of the program is funded with $7 million from the HOME Investment Partnership Program that is currently available, and the next phases will be funded by $5 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and $12 million in Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. CDBG and ESG funds are not yet available, but are expected very soon. All the funding is provided to the state from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“This program provides much-needed assistance to households across our state who have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Workers and families are the foundation of our communities and by coming together to address their needs, we ensure the continued health and well-being of Louisiana’s children and families.”
This program will also provide financial assistance for Louisiana renters who are not current on their rent and/or at imminent risk of eviction due to COVID-19. Monthly emergency rental payments will be paid according to the amount on the lease agreement, not to exceed the fair market rents for a designated area. The payment amount is dependent upon income, household size and fair market rent prices. All payments will be made directly to landlords.
“The LHC is constantly exploring ways to address the needs of our citizens and the cost burden placed upon them by the COVID-19 health crisis,” said LHC Executive Director E. Keith Cunningham Jr. “Today’s announcement means that we are in a position to save individuals and families from homelessness or eviction.
The Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program is designed to assist households whose income does not exceed $13,500 to $25,450, dependent upon household size.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is creating particular hardships for our most vulnerable residents, most of whom rely on rental housing,” OCD Executive Director Pat Forbes said. “Many of these individuals and families are facing potential eviction because their incomes have been impacted by the pandemic. This allows the state to address that threat in a way that helps our people be more secure in their housing situations.”
LHC has partnered with Louisiana 211 to assist applicants with submitting an intake form. Renters affected by business shutdowns, closures, layoffs and reduced work hours as well as those receiving enhanced unemployment benefits are strongly encouraged to apply.
The Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program launched Thursday, July 16. Renters may complete an intake form online at LaRentHelp.com or via phone by dialing 2-1-1. Additional information is available by texting “LaRentHelp” to 898-211. For a list of additional resources, programs, and services available to homeowners and/or renters, visit our website at www.lhc.la.gov.