NEW ORLEANS – Operations at First City Court were impacted on Thursday as protesters blocked
evictions from moving forward and called attention to the impending housing crisis.
As COVID-19 infection rates rise and national economic uncertainty continues, City and State
officials have refused to close eviction courts or offer adequate support for renters at risk of
losing their homes.
A State aid program through the Louisiana Housing Corporation that launched on July 16th received over 40,000 applicants and closed to find more funding after just four days. That program was offering $24 million in rental assistance.
A City rental assistance program opened Monday with only $1 million available in funding. It is estimated that renters across Louisiana need $250 million in funds to pay back rent and stabilize their housing, and renters in New Orleans need $50 million.
Protestors, directly impacted residents, and advocates call upon Governor John Bel Edwards,
Mayor Cantrell, City Council, and First City Court Judges to cease all eviction proceedings immediately and indefinitely.
The rally gathered Thursday morning to halt the eviction proceedings that have been taking place
since the moratorium was lifted in June, despite the ongoing global pandemic. According to a
study by Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative (JPNSI), renters who are evicted by
court order in Orleans Parish are primarily Black women who owe one month’s rent or less.
The urgency and injustice of the eviction crisis were clear even before COVID-19. “Evictions
cause lasting damages to individuals and families that stretch far beyond the eviction hearing in
court. Studies show that evictions can lead to job losses, health crises, impact children’s school
performance, and limit future housing options.