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Federal funding allows EBR mayor's office to resume rental assistance payments

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BATON ROUGE - Thousands of people in Baton Rouge will now receive pandemic-related rental assistance.

A waiting list has been growing after the parish ran out of the first batch of money.

“We've seen people from all walks of life to be honest. This is something that impacted everyone: every gender, every race, every socio-economic area that's there. Layoffs have happened in every industry,” explained Courtney Scott with the mayor’s office. 

Last March, the mayor's office opened up the emergency rental assistance program for people needing financial relief during the pandemic and 8,000 people were helped. 

“The program has awarded approximately $43 million to date,” Scott said. 

But they had to stop providing assistance to people even after they were approved because the money ran out, leaving 5,000 people on a waiting list. 

“We waited for dollars to be released from the U.S. Treasury... and those dollars have now been received by city parish and we will be allocating them out as soon as this week."

Today those dollars were approved by the council. Of the five thousand waiting, priority will be given first to those facing evictions. 

“Anyone that is imminent danger of eviction has also been assigned a legal counsel that we're also paying for with southeast legal services,” Scott said. 

Though a lot has changed since applications first opened Scott says their office is still seeing a need for the help even now. 

“When you look at the impacts of covid-19, even though the pandemic has started to cease and we're starting to see changes in the way the community works, there's still impacts that we're seeing every single day when it comes to stabilizing households, preventing homelessness and preventing evictions,” she said. 

Applications are currently closed and won't be reopened unless the city receives more federal money. 

Anyone who was previously approved will receive an email notification. 

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