The City has launched 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. The program is for low-income homeowners and owner-occupied landlords (1-4 units) who are behind or in arrears on their mortgage payments and who need mortgage assistance to avoid foreclosure. The Homeowner Foreclosure Prevention and Mortgage Assistance Program is supported by $3 million in funding from the Mayor’s Office of Housing Policy and Community Development.

“Coming into office, affordable housing and homeownership became immediate, top priorities for my administration. Through our Office of Community Development, we have invested millions of dollars into programs that help our people buy and stay in their homes,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Homeownership is vital to creating and passing down wealth, and it is important that we continue to provide resources for the households that are on the verge of losing homes that they have worked hard to obtain."

The funding and partnership with the City of New Orleans will allow SLLS to expand its foreclosure assistance capacity to respond to what is expected to be an extremely high volume of cases in the coming months. In addition to assisting with payment of mortgage arrears for eligible homeowners, SLLS attorneys will provide legal assistance needed to resolve mortgage disputes and to stabilize housing for the resident. The payment will be made to the mortgage holder.

"With foreclosure moratoriums expiring soon and Louisiana ending its participation in pandemic-related unemployment benefits by July 31, 2021, there will be a tremendous need for this project for homeowners economically impacted by COVID-19," said Laura Tuggle, SLLS Executive Director. "This allocation of resources by the City of New Orleans could not have come at a better time."

To be eligible for assistance, the homeowner must live, and the property must be in Orleans Parish. The property must be the homeowner’s primary residence. The homeowner’s total household income must be at or below 80% of area median income. The homeowner must be able to provide documentation of arrears due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If the homeowner is eligible, SLLS will work directly with the resident to provide legal assistance, as well as work with the mortgage company to make arrangements to pay the mortgage arrears and a one-month mortgage payment to make the resident current.

Applications are available 24 hours and can be completed online at www.slls.org/foreclosureprevention or by calling 1-855-786-2955 Monday – Friday, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., excluding holidays for assistance. Once the applications are received and reviewed for eligibility, the homeowner will be notified of the application status and next steps.