NEW ORLEANS, La. (WDSU) — The Louisiana governor announced Friday that the state is launching a new program that will provide financial assistance to renters and landlords in the state affected by COVID-19.
Gov. Edwards said the program is funded through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.
This relief package includes $25 billion for emergency rental assistance, of which $161 million has been allocated to the state to provide assistance in 57 Louisiana parishes, according to Edwards.
The Louisiana Housing Corporation, in partnership with the Louisiana Office of Community Development, will administer the state program.
In addition, the law allowed local jurisdictions with populations over 200,000 to apply for and receive direct allocations from the U.S. Treasury, according to Edwards.
In Louisiana, seven jurisdictions — Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes — did so and will administer their own programs.
“We know many Louisiana renters are in jeopardy of eviction due to financial circumstances as a result of the current pandemic, and we want to prevent that,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “At the same time, we know many rental property owners are also being impacted. This program is designed to help provide much-needed relief to both landlords and renters during this challenging time.”
The state-administered program will focus on paying rental arrears, or past-due rent, and up to three months of future rent for eligible applicants, according to the news release issued by the governor’s office.
Priority will be given to households where at least one member has been unemployed for more than 90 days due to COVID-19, and to households earning less than 50 percent of the Area Median Income, as required by the law, according to Edwards.
Edwards said Louisiana renters may be eligible for assistance from the state-administered program if they meet all of the following criteria:
- They qualify or previously qualified for unemployment benefits, or experienced an income reduction or other financial hardship due to COVID-19.
- They are not current on rent payments or at risk of eviction.
- Their total household income is at or below 80 percent of the area’s median income.
Information on AMI income levels by parish can be found at www.LAStateRent.com.
Louisiana landlords may apply on their tenant’s behalf. To participate in the program, landlords must not evict a tenant for at least 60 days after the assistance ends and must forgive late fees, penalties, interest and court costs, according to Edwards.
To learn more or to apply for the state program, tenants and landlords can visit www.LAStateRent.com. For questions about the program or assistance with the application process, renters or landlords can call 877-459-6555. Renters in the 57 designated parishes affected by business shutdowns, closures, layoffs and reduced work hours as well as those receiving enhanced unemployment benefits are strongly encouraged to apply.
Programs administered by Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes, may vary in terms of eligibility, prioritization, benefits and application process. Renters and landlords in those parishes should contact their local representatives or may visit www.LAStateRent.com to learn more.