Louisiana Housing Corporation director on paused COVID emergency rental assistance program

Louisiana Housing Corporation director on paused COVID emergency rental assistance program

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - After just four days Louisiana’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program ran out of funds and had to suspend their application process, which could leave some Louisiana residents in a bind as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The Louisiana Housing Corporation is calling the response to their Emergency Rental Assistance Program “overwhelming” after having to shut their application process down due to a lack of funds.

Executive director of LHC, Keith Cunningham, says running out of money did not come as a surprise.

“Rest assured we we’re aware that the resources we had would not address all of the concern,” Cunningham said. “But our attempt again was to address those who had the most vulnerable need and try to help who we could help.”

Cunningham says the money they received just isn’t enough. The LHC estimates a little over 20-million dollars in rental assistance is needed this year in Lake Charles alone.

“We also recognize that this program was targeted to those that are most vulnerable,” he said. “So, there’s an entire level, an entire group of individuals that we have not even been able to assist. We recognize that there’s a much larger challenge in store for us.”

While we continue to navigate this ongoing pandemic, Cunningham says, Louisiana also has to anticipate the possibility of a hurricane.

He says the coronavirus is not all to blame for the immense need in our state. When it comes to affordable housing, Cunningham says the need already existed.

“This COVID-19 pandemic has just served as both a reminder of the fragile nature of some of these systems,” he said. “And secondarily, it just exacerbated an existing problem in the state of Louisiana.”

The LHC is actively working with national organizations, advocates, and, most importantly, congress.

”We see measures coming that we believe will provide rental assistance and we just hope those measures, with our help actually provide the help that the citizens of Louisiana need,” Cunningham said.

If you were able to submit an application for Louisiana’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program your application is likely under review to make sure you qualify for the aid. You can expect to hear back with an update within thirty days.

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