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Rental Assistance program temporarily halted

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BATON ROUGE - Days after Governor John Bel Edwards announced a state program to provide assistance to renters struggling through the coronavirus outbreak, the program was temporarily suspended due to an overwhelming response.

The Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance program was meant to provide about $24 million to help renters facing financial hardship because of the pandemic. The program was specifically designed to help households financially impacted and struggling to pay rent as a result of shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours or unpaid leave due to the pandemic, according to the governor's office.

But on Sunday (July 19), the state temporarily suspended the program due to an overwhelming response.  Click HERE to be emailed when the application process starts again. 

Shortly after the program was announced, Housing Louisiana President, Andreanecia Morris praised it as a good start but also warned that the money wasn't nearly enough.

Morris said, "What we have been urging since the beginning of this crisis since we saw from the beginning is there needed to be comprehensive and substantial investment in making sure people could keep their homes that they are required to shelter in." 

The funds were meant to assist households whose income does not exceed $13,500 - $25,450, dependent upon household size. 

"As this is on a first-come, first-served basis, we plan to allocate this money judiciously. But we are aware additional funding will be made available," Executive Director of Louisiana Housing Corporation Keith Cunningham said.

Officials say the program is meant to ensure emergency rental payments will be paid based on the amount on the lease agreement and won't exceed the fair market rents for a designated area. The payment amount is dependent upon income, household size, and fair market rent prices.

The program is administered and funded by the Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) in partnership with the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD).

Officials explained that the $24 million funding would go to landlords and not the tenants, and they reminded the public that those who are in government housing already are ineligible.

When the program was implemented, renters were able to complete an intake form by clicking here.

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