NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Those facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 virus could be in for a tough week.
A slew of different partners came together at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church on Saturday to offer food, supplies, and even mental health services to New Orleans east residents in need.
“I’ve been preaching quite often about just making sure that we’re taking care of each other,” said City Councilmember Cyndi Ngyen.
“If you haven’t heard from a friend or someone, it’s worth just picking up that phone or texting them to just make sure that they’re good.”
Several federally-backed programs such as eviction protection and extra unemployment payments are set to end Saturday.
Landlords can now start the 30 day eviction process as the moratorium on evictions stemming from the federal cares act is now officially lifted.
Some who have been protected from facing eviction for foreclosure over the last several months could begin receiving eviction notices starting Saturday, meaning they would have 30 days before being forced to leave their homes.
Housing advocates believes with close to 30,000 people in New Orleans on the brink of homelessness, the pain could mirror that from Hurricane Katrina.
“Leading up to the 15th anniversary, one of the worst disaster that has struck this city. We will see the next worse disaster start again,” said Andreanecia Morris, Executive Director with HousingNOLA.
“We’re working every angle, encouraging congress, and so I also want to ask the public to reach out to their congressman, to reach out to their federal leaders to emphasize the importance of the stimulus package, the unemployment money, to make sure that our families are still able to survive,” said Nguyen.
Nguyen serves the New Orleans East area where many families were struggling even before the pandemic, and without a federal safety net, she says things will only get worse.
The extra $600 for those who have filed for unemployment due to pandemic is also set to run dry in the coming days unless D.C. lawmakers can come to a new agreement, but some GOP leaders have said that extra money was more than many people were making at their regular job, and continuing to receive it would only incentivize them to stay home.
“I‘m very insulted by that,” said Nguyen.
“I know people want to go back to work. People do not want to stay home and do nothing. They want to get back to work.”
In the meantime, Nguyen says the city will continue providing free food and services to help ease the burden.
“We’re making sure that we continue to do these food drives so that people don’t have to spend the little cash they do have.”
Recently the state tried to ease the burden on renters with an emergency rental assistance program that would cover three months of rental payment. However, just days after the launch, the program was suspended after receiving an overflow of applications.
Morris says $24 million does not even begin to scratch the surface of what’s needed and according to their census data, over 300,000 Louisiana residents missed last month’s rent.
“As we go backwards with some of the restrictions because of the surge, why we aren’t we doing everything necessary to make sure our folks can ride this catastrophe out,” says Andreanecia Morris with HousingNOLA.
“There’s nowhere to go,” says renter Emmanuel Williams. “There’s no rental assistance. There’s no financial institutions that’s trying to help us. All we know is we have to gone.”