SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program will now include help to pay past-due utility bills.
The program itself is designed to help Louisiana renters and landloards dealing with financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the expansion, the program now provides assistance for past-due rent and utility fees dating back to April 2020, as well as future rent for eligible applicants.
As of May 6, more than 13,000 renters have begun applications for the state-administered program, and $2.6 million in rental assistance has been approved.
The application period remains open and now allows for renters to submit requests for assistance in paying past-due utilities and home energy costs, which includes electricity, gas, water and sewer, trash removal and fuel oil.
Louisiana renters may be eligible for assistance from the state-administered program if they meet all of the following criteria:
- Renter resides in a rental unit in one of 57 parishes covered by state-administered program.
- At least one individual in the household qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19.
- Renter has received a past-due rent notice, a past-due utility notice, an eviction notice or is experiencing housing instability.
- Renter’s total household income is at or below 80 percent of the area median income.
- Both renters and landlords are eligible to apply for assistance. Priority is 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. In most cases, rental assistance is provided to the landlord, and utility assistance will be paid directly to utility providers.
Click here to learn more or to apply for the state program.