NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans today (6/24) updated residents on the Rental Assistance Program. The CDC announced an extension of the eviction moratorium program through July 31, 2021.
[WATCH: Marjorianna Willman press conference
The City has received $11.6 million in funding directly from the U.S. Treasury to fund the program. A second tranche of funds, $6.6 million, was recently received from Treasury. An ordinance has been introduced and is expected to be approved by the City Council allowing the $6.6 million to be added to the budget on July 1. The City expects to eventually receive a total of $42 million from the State and Federal governments. However, the City can only expend the funds that it currently has in the budget, which is the $11.6 million. Over 1,400 applications have been approved for payment in the amount of approximately $8 million – 70% of the original allocation.
With an expenditure rate over 70%, the City will be well-positioned to receive additional funding by surpassing the Treasury’s 2/3 expenditure requirement by September 2021.
“The City has consistently outperformed other parishes and similar Cities in expending the rental assistance funds while staying below the 10% program administration cap.
There are many states, cities and counties that have expended less than 5% of their allocation,” said Marjorianna Willman, Director, Housing Policy and Community Development. “Rental Assistance programs have complicated program requirements and require significant manpower. This program does not in any way generate income for the City. The City’s goal is to help as many households as possible without putting the City at risk for a recapture event or non-compliance measures.”
For that reason, Willman announced, a servicer is being retained to assist with portions of the approval process so that more households can be served even faster. The Office has picked up 10 temporary staffers, and at times has pulled up to 30 additional staffers off their normal duties in order to stand up the program.
“It is important to understand that, even with additional resources and the projected funding levels, the demand far outweighs the available resources,” Willman added. “Based on the average payment and administrative costs, the City may serve 6,000 households. That is less than half of the applications received to date. The City will run out of funding before everyone is served.”
With the end of the moratorium approaching, the City is recommending that tenants do the following:
- Work with your landlords to cover back due rents, maybe payment plans or partial rent payments.
- Identify your application number. Based on projected resources, the addition of a servicer and processing times, the City expects to reach 3,500 in July.
- Make sure that you have submitted to the Office of Community Development your proof of identity, proof of income and address documentation so that when your number is reached, there are no delays in receiving the necessary support documentation.
- If you are a landlord, the City asks that you work with your tenants and allow for extensions and payment plans as much as possible.
The pandemic has presented extraordinary challenges for the City in terms of running the rental assistance program in conjunction with other needed housing programs. The courts and housing advocates that have partnered with the City to head off evictions have worked tirelessly, so many landlords have lost revenue that they depended on, and of course tenants who are living through the threat of eviction.
“We want our residents to know that the Cantrell Administration has not given up in the face of the overwhelming need but continues to push through and look for opportunities to serve more households, stabilize existing housing and generate more affordable units. We will get through this, and as funding becomes available, it will be rapidly directed to assisting our people,” Willman said.
Learn more about a new program operated by Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS), to prevent Orleans Parish homeowners directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) from foreclosure by clicking here.