Officials say that Lafayette Emergency Assistance Program (LEAP) is still available to assist qualified low- and moderate-income households with paying rent and overdue rent, as well as current and overdue utility payments. Those who need assistance are encouraged to apply.
In addition to the initial $7.2 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance announced last year in March, Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) has since been granted an additional $14 million for a total of more than $21 million. “With relief funds still available, we encourage those who’ve struggled with income loss due to the pandemic to apply. We are continuing to accept and process applications, and households in all municipalities of Lafayette Parish are eligible to submit an application,” said LCG Community Development and Planning Department Director Mary Sliman.
As of December 31, 2021, $11.6 million in LEAP funds have been disbursed, leaving approximately $10 million available. There is no deadline for residents to apply.
The application requires input from both the tenant and the landlord to facilitate the process and reduce the time it takes to get assistance. Tenants must complete the application and have their income and/or government benefits readily available. Landlords must have the amount of rent owed readily available. Ultimately, both the tenant and landlord must sign off on the application.
WHAT EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE COVERS
Emergency funds must first be used to pay overdue rent before receiving assistance for future rent payments. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of rental assistance or up to 12 months of overdue rental assistance, plus an additional three months if it’s determined the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability. Households may reapply for additional aid at the end of the three-month period if the overall time limit of 15 months for assistance is not exceeded.
Eligibility is based on a renter household in which at least one or more individuals meet the following criteria:
- Qualifies for unemployment or has had a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19
- Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability
- Household income must not exceed 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Lafayette Parish.
Follow this link to find income limits: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il/il2020/2020summary.odn [huduser.gov]
Priority is given to eligible households that include someone who has been unemployed for 90 days prior to application and households with income at or below 50 percent of the AMI for Lafayette Parish.
Household income is determined as either the household’s total income for the calendar year 2020 or the household’s monthly income at the time of application. For households using monthly incomes, eligibility must be redetermined every three months.
LCG is partnering with Catholic Charities of Acadiana and SMILE Community Action Agency to disburse funds.
HOW TO APPLY
- Catholic Charities of Acadiana at catholiccharitiesacadiana.org [catholiccharitiesacadiana.org], for information, call 235-4972
- SMILE Community Action Agency smilecaa.org [smilecaa.org].
- SMILE Community Action Agency, 501 St. John Street, Lafayette, or call 337-234-3272 Ext. 200.