Louisiana launches $24 million rental assistance program

By David Jacobs | The Center Square – Louisiana on Thursday launched a federally funded $24 million assistance program for low-income residents who can’t pay their rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic and response, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced.

The Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program is designed to help households facing financial hardship as a result of shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours or unpaid leave related to the pandemic. The program starts out with $7 million from the HOME Investment Partnership Program, paid for with grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD also is expected to provide $5 million in Community Development Block Grant funds and $12 million in Emergency Solutions Grant funds provided through the CARES Act, Edwards’ office says.

The program is meant to help Louisiana renters who are not current on their rent and/or at imminent risk of eviction due to COVID-19. Payments will be made directly to landlords, not renters.

The payment amount is dependent upon income, household size and fair market rent prices. Income limits to participate range from $13,500 (for a single person) to $25,450 (for a family of four or more).

Grants will be awarded on a “first come, first served” basis. Renters can get more information and apply at LaRentHelp.com or by calling 211. They can also text “LaRentHelp” to 898-211 for more information.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is creating particular hardships for our most vulnerable residents, most of whom rely on rental housing,” state Office of Community Development 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.”