The Louisiana Housing Corporation announced on Wednesday improvements to the state's Emergency Rental Assistance Program (LERAP) that aim to improve access for renters and landlords impacted by COVID-19.
LHC has reduced the application length and divided it into components for renters and landlords. E-signatures are now allowed for faster receipt of documentation required by the federal government. In addition to hosting in-person outreach events in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LHC is scheduling events around the state to serve those with limited access to the internet, or who otherwise may need help in submitting their application.
"We know COVID-19 has impacted thousands of Louisianans, and emergency rental assistance is needed by many. LHC's goal is to provide that assistance as soon as possible and after receiving feedback on how to improve the process, we have made several adjustments," said LHC Executive Director Keith Cunningham, Jr. "Although there are federal requirements that we must abide by, our team has been able to significantly reduce the application length, as well as establish partnerships to assist with the delivery of services. In addition, we are encouraging applicants to stay in touch with the program through our customer service center. By working together, we will see even more progress."
LHC is continuing to expand its partnership with local housing entities across the state to provide direct assistance to help renters and landlords impacted by COVID-19 complete the necessary paperwork.
Since launching LERAP on July 16, 2020, over $7 million has been committed to eligible applicants, preventing more than 3,000 families from being evicted.
In July 2020, the Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) and the Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD) partnered with the Continuum of Care network to launch a program to address imminent housing needs across the state caused by the financial impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Federal funding sources for the Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program (LERAP) include:
$7 million in HOME Investment Partnership Program funds
$5 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the OCD, which LHC anticipates receiving in October
$12 million in Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding provided by the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
For more information about LERAP, visit larenthelp.com.
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