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Eviction moratorium extended through March, La. now receiving renters assistance money

Updated: Jan. 31, 2021 at 6:09 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The CDC announced the moratorium on evictions will extend through March after it was set to expire January 31.

Back in December, Congress passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill that included $25 billion in rental assistance.

Orleans Parish, which has the largest renter population in Louisiana, is starting to see some of that money.

Mayor Latoya Cantrell released a statement on efforts this week to provide millions of dollars in rental assistance for New Orleans residents:

“Thursday represented decisive action that could provide as much as $25 million in rental assistance for our residents when they need it the most. We appreciate Gov. Edwards’ announcement that the City will receive $14 million in funds to administer from the U.S. Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance program as part of the State’s allotment of $308 million. We were also encouraged to see the ordinance approving $11.6 million from the same program working its way through the approval process and will continue to fight to keep our people in their homes with all of our available resources.”

Andreanecia Morris with Housing NOLA says the state has a $1 billion renters assistance problem on its hands stemming from the pandemic.

“Louisiana was in line to get over $300 million, that’s allocated by parishes and parishes like Jefferson, Orleans, East Baton Rouge, Lafayette were able to directly apply for chunks of that money,” said Morris.

“With the money that’s coming out now, it can go either way. With previous programs, the renters had to sign up and the landlords had to agree, so it was more of a concerted dance.”

And while most landlords are honoring the letter of the law when it comes to the eviction moratorium, Morris says there are still loopholes around it.

“All the moratorium does is stop a landlord from evicting you if you’ve been unable to pay. So if you’re lease expires, landlords can and have been able to secure the right of return of their property.”

The Biden administration is now working to pass a third COVID relief package which would include another $25 billion in rental assistance, $5 billion to help struggling renters pay utilities, and another extension of the moratorium through September.

But with a total price tag of $1.9 trillion, many GOP members, including those in Louisiana, are pushing back with a proposal of their own.

Details on the proposal are expected to be released Monday.

“Ours is about $600 billion,” Sen. Bill Cassidy said on FOX News Sunday.

“We are very targeted.”

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