Rental Assistance for Low-Income New Orleanians Losing CARES Act Benefits
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) is the free legal aid agency that serves low income families in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. On Friday, July 24, SLLS client Natasha Blunt was featured on NBC news. Ms. Natasha is a grandmother raising two minor children, ages 3 and 10. She worked at the New Orleans Convention Center, but like so many New Orleanians working in the service and hospitality industries, she lost her job in March due the COVID pandemic. Her apartment complex is covered by the CARES Act because of federal assistance it received. However, the CARES Act eviction moratorium expired on July 25th, and Ms. Natasha’s federal unemployment assistance expires at the end of July. Without eviction protection or unemployment money, she and thousands of others like her are facing imminent eviction and homelessness during the pandemic.
According to new data released by the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, 56% of renter households across Louisiana are at risk of eviction in the next four months, compared to 43% nationally. 197,000 evictions are expected to be filed in Louisiana in the four months following the end of the CARES Act eviction moratorium and federal unemployment assistance. These families have nowhere to go. Housing instability during the pandemic is more than a personal and economic crisis for low-income families- it’s a public health crisis for everyone in the community.
We were floored by the outpouring of support for Ms. Natasha and her family following the NBC story. Due to the story, Ms. Natasha’s household needs were met, she has received rental support, and has been offered a job. The Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, a New Orleans-based non-profit formerly known as the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, has graciously offered to host this campaign and disburse funds to tenants across the city. Currently, many other tenants are in the same position as Ms. Natasha and could use your support.
Ashley D. has been out of work at the Port of New Orleans since mid May due to COVID-19, and has not yet started receiving unemployment due to system backups. She is a single mom of a 7 year old child. She was protected from eviction under the CARES Act, but the protection has expired.
Dedrione M. has a 3 year old and is 36 weeks pregnant. She has been unemployed due to COVID-19 and is receiving expanded unemployment benefits. However her benefits expire at the end of July, and she has fallen behind. She has received a notice of eviction.
Raymond W. and his wife are performers in New Orleans who have been out of work due to COVID-19 and were not eligible for unemployment benefits. They have four kids under age 5 and are facing eviction for nonpayment of rent.
Kim L. had COVID-19 and has been in and out of the hospital since due to complications. She is having her second surgery this week. Her new landlord took her security deposit and first month’s rent, but she can’t get the water turned on because of a plumbing issue that her landlord refuses to fix. She desperately needs money to move somewhere else or else she will be homeless after her surgery.
Tasha M. is a single mother who was a home healthcare worker prior to the COVID outbreak. Due to COVID, she lost her job. She filed unemployment and still has not received a response or any assistance. She is behind three months of rent and is currently facing eviction and homelessness.
These are just some of our client stories. If you make a tax-deductible donation to this fund we will make sure your donation goes to New Orleanians who need it the most. You will be preventing homelessness for a vulnerable population during this difficult time. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
For more information about Louisiana's eviction crisis, please see the following: