Housing & rental relief aid available for SWLA residents

Housing & rental Relief Aid

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -It’s been just over two weeks since the final pandemic-related protections against evictions in Louisiana expired.

As the economic toll of the pandemic deepens, experts believe there could be a wave of evictions over the next few months. However, if that is the case at the local level, there is a way you could get some much-needed help.

According to a special survey done by the Census Bureau for the pandemic, just over 35 percent of Louisiana renters is housing insecure - meaning they’ve already missed a rent payment or don’t think they will be able to make their next.

As the situation becomes a little more critical, banks like Hancock Whitney are providing a lifeline.

“If you’re giving folks stimulus checks and you’re also giving enhanced unemployment which at least for the last period of time has been substantially more for some folks than they were earning when they were employed. The question is do they have the ability to pay their rent and we need to get that balance,” said Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy.

With negotiations for a new stimulus package at a standstill on Capitol Hill...This weekend, President Trump bypassed congress with his signature on four executive orders--one including a stop on evictions.

“I think it actually looks better doing the way we’re doing it. You can’t beat the deal we’ve made,” said Pres. Trump.

However, his order only directs federal agencies to see if halting evictions are necessary, leaving little direction at the local level. For those struggling with unemployment, it’s a race against time.

“Like right here in Louisiana we need about a billion to keep all renters who have been affected by the coronavirus housed through July of 2021,” said Housing Louisiana Exec. Dir. Andrenicia Morris.

Due to the strong possibility of increased eviction in the 5-parish area, Hancock Whitney Bank recently announced that it would provide $50,000 in relief assistance to those in low and moderate-income households.

“We’ve put another fifty thousand dollars...working with 2 wonderful organizations. Acadiana Legal Services and Catholic Charites of SWLA. They’ve been doing a lot of work with those who need legal assistance and need help with housing so that there are no evictions and we can do what we need to do to help them out,” said Sr. Vice President John Lennox Jr.

Lennox said the relief will be available to anyone who may have experienced job loss, furlough, or a reduction in hours or pay due to the pandemic.

Below is the list of qualification factors, though additional documents may be needed. Qualifications factors are also subject to change at any time.

To qualify at this time, you will need to meet the financial requirements and provide the following items that apply to you:

  • Current Picture ID/ Driver’s License
  • Social Security Cards for all in the household
  • Current Lease
  • Proof of Income for all in the household that it applies to
  • Pay stubs – most recent consecutive
  • Social Security Benefit Letter
  • Retirement Benefit Letter
  • Unemployment Benefit Letter
  • VA Benefits Letter
  • Proof of Expenses:
  • Electric Bill
  • Water Bill
  • Gas Bill
  • Cable/Internet/Phone Bill

To apply, call Catholic Charities of SWLA at (337) 439-7436.

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