State funded programs for hazard pay and rental assistance could run out soon

Changes to the short term rental laws in New Orleans are on the table Wednesday and the public...
Changes to the short term rental laws in New Orleans are on the table Wednesday and the public will be allowed to voice their opinions at City Hall.
Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 7:09 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WVUE) - A new state funded program could help those who have fallen behind on rent due to the pandemic. 

So many people have signed up for the program on the first day that now it and hazard pay funds are quickly running out of money. 

The state recently passed a proposal that would give $250 in hazard pay for essential employees who were forced to keep working during the shutdown, whether it be bus drivers, grocery store clerks or hospital staff. But, as of today, that money is already close to running out. 

Governor John Bel Edwards says the state could reach its limit on applications by Friday. The process only opened on Wednesday and there’s already been more than 125,000 applications filed for the one time rebate.

According to officials, when applications hit about 250,000 funds will be gone. 

Edwards also announced a new program that could help thousands of residents get caught up on rent payments. 

State officials announced Thursday the launch of the Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program which will provide $24 million in aid to eligible renters affected by the pandemic. 

Other organizations like Housing Louisiana says that $24 million set aside for rental assistance pales in comparison to what the state has spent on other programs to battle COVID-19 and say that amount simply won’t be good enough. 

State leaders say if you qualify, it could pay up to three months worth of rent. 

“Currently, the program is available to those individuals who are 30 percent or below the average median income. And what that represents for the state of Louisiana is a household of one, $13,000 all the way up to $25,000 for households of four or more. And again, this program is designed for individuals who are unable to pay their rent due to impacts of COVID-19 closures and the isolation and self-quarantine related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Keith Cunningham with the Louisiana Housing Corporation. 

Those rent payments will be made directly to landlords. 

To apply visit or call 211. 

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