Social Service Agencies Across LA Sound Alarm, Call for More Rental Support from State & Congress

NEW ORLEANS—Today, 54 social service agencies and advocates from across the state called on Governor John Bel Edwards to pursue all options to increase rental assistance funding, as the recently announced Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance program ran out of money in just three days.

The $24 million allocated for the program is only a fraction of what is required as Louisiana property owners and the families who rent from them approach a cliff this fall. Throughout the pandemic, 40% or more of Louisiana renters have consistently reported that they have little to no confidence that they will make the next month’s rent payment. On July 25th, both Federal Pandemic Unemployment and the CARES Act protections against eviction will expire, leaving 130,000 rent-burdened families in our state out of work and at risk of losing their homes.

The data shows that while 27,700 families in Orleans Parish and 14,000 in East Baton Rouge Parish are at risk of being forced out of their homes, this is not just a crisis of urban centers. Rural and suburban parishes like Lafourche, Tangipahoa, Ascension, and Claiborne also contain hot spots where 20% or more of households are at risk for eviction. The Acadiana Regional Coalition on Homelessness and Housing (ARCH), one of the letter signers, has already noted that homelessness in Acadiana has nearly doubled since January, from 421 people to 789.

To prevent this catastrophe, two separate expert analyses have suggested that close to $500 million in assistance is needed. Without the extension of federal unemployment and a massive allocation of funding for landlords and renters by Congress, the responsibility will fall to the Governor and the state legislature to meet this need. So far, the legislature has failed to take the opportunity to provide any meaningful assistance to Louisiana’s renter families. Legislators also received the letter and are likely to be in session as thousands of their constituents face being forced out of their homes.

“Regardless of race or what’s in our wallets, many Louisianans have done our best to care for and support each other during this crisis, but we’re staring down a cliff that could tear our communities apart, and it’s time for our government to step in and supplement what community members are doing for one another. Just like COVID-19 and police violence, research shows the looming eviction crisis will disproportionately impact Black communities. The Governor, state legislators, and our U.S. Senators can choose to keep 130,000 Louisiana families in their homes and we desperately need them to act now,” said Cashauna Hill, Executive Director of the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, one of the letter’s signers.

Without the needed assistance, property owners may default on mortgages and local property taxes; renter families would lose homes, possessions, and see worse educational and health outcomes for children; and overwhelmed eviction courts are likely to pour fuel on the fire of our current COVID-19 outbreak and further damage our economy.

See the full letter here and the full list of signers below:

232-HELP/211, Lafayette

504HealthNet

Acadiana Housing Alliance

Acadiana Regional Coalition on Homelessness and Housing (ARCH)

ACLU of Louisiana

Agenda for Children

Broad Community Connections, New Orleans

Center for Planning Excellence

CHANGE Coalition (Coalition of HIV & AIDS Nonprofits & Governmental Entities)

Covenant House, New Orleans

CrescentCare

Crescent City Community Land Trust, New Orleans

D.A.R.T (Domestic Abuse Resistance Team), Ruston

Disability Rights Louisiana

Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Foundation for Louisiana

Home by Hand, New Orleans

HOME Coalition, Monroe

HOPE Connections of Northwest Louisiana

Housing First Alliance of the Capital Area

Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies, New Orleans

Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, New Orleans

Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana

Lafayette Habitat for Humanity

Lift Louisiana

Louisiana Budget Project

Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights

Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Louisiana Coalition for Criminalization & Health

Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center

Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families

Louisiana Public Health Institute

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law – Law Clinic

Metro Centers for Community Advocacy

Mid City Redevelopment Alliance, Baton Rouge

Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans

New Orleans Family Justice Center

Northlake Homeless Coalition

Operation Restoration

Ozanam Inn, New Orleans

Power Coalition for Equity and Justice

Providence House, Shreveport

Ride New Orleans

Safe Harbor, Mandeville

Step Up Louisiana

Total Community Action, Inc., New Orleans

UNITE HERE! Local 23

United Way of Southeast Louisiana

UNITY of Greater New Orleans

Vera Institute of Justice

Voice of the Experienced

Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana

Voters Organized to Educate

Women With A Vision, New Orleans

Posted by decubing">decubingon 07/20/2020and categorized as Blog, News, Uncategorized