The Mayor’s Office of Housing Policy and Community Development announced it has approved applications for payment that will expend the $18,266,472 in U.S. Treasury Funds sent directly to the City for the Rental Assistance Program.
The funds were dispersed in two tranches referred to as “ERAP Round 1” and “ERAP Round 2”. The second round of funds came with more flexible guidelines which allowed the approval process to be completed much quicker. Specifically, funds can be offered to tenants first, giving the tenants the ability to resolve their past due balances with their landlords after receiving the funding. Also, the City of New Orleans (funding grantee) can more freely accept tenant certifications when income documentation is unattainable. This option is particularly helpful in New Orleans when many tenants seeking assistance are in gig and hospitality industries that often pay in cash.
The City is expected to receive additional Round 1 funds from the State in the amount of $14,076,444 and $9,204,985 in Round 2 funds from the U.S. Treasury. Mayor Cantrell has written a letter to the Secretary of Treasury, Janet Yellen, requesting the release of the Round 2 funds and further urged that the flexible guidelines associated with the Round 2 funds be made available to the unspent portion of Round 1 funds not yet received from the State of Louisiana. On a local level, the City has asked that the State move quicker in releasing the remaining Round 1 funds allocated to New Orleans.
While it is still true that the need for rental assistance far outweighs the amount of available resources, every effort has been made to obtain additional funding from the federal government and the State which have oversight of funding to parishes that may not have as much of a need for rental assistance as New Orleans.
In anticipation of additional funding, another community event is being planned to reach applicants with application numbers from 5,001- 10,000. The last community event serviced application numbers up to 5,000. Payments for applications approved at the rental assistance event held at Warren Easton High School on July 7- 9, 2021 will be released on or around July 23, 2021.
Applicants who are approved at the upcoming event, will receive a letter for their landlords advising them that the applicant has been approved for assistance and will receive funding once additional funds become available. We are hopeful that this assurance to the landlords may give tenants more time to make payments without living under the threat of eviction. Specific information pertaining to the next event will be forthcoming.