Direct Landlord Assistance, Utility Payments Now Available
NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans announced that it will begin providing direct payments to utility providers, and rapid relief to landlords to stop tenants from being displaced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Aug. 25, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued new guidance that allows grantees such as the City of New Orleans, to provide direct and bulk payments to landlords and to establish procedures that will combine assistance to households in jeopardy of displacement. The single payments made directly to utility providers and landlords are based on reasonable certified estimates of debts which must be confirmed by the grantee within six months of payment issuance. The guidance recommends decreasing the estimate by a certain percentage to eliminate the risk of overpayment.
“Our residents have suffered greatly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and we are now able to extend assistance leveraged from our federal partners at the U.S. Department of Treasury to provide some relief directly to landlords to avoid the continuation of debt accumulation and housing displacement,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “We greatly appreciate the amount of flexibility given to grantees such as the City that will allow us to help those small landlords who are not in a position to shoulder lost rental income, in addition to giving residents much needed assistance with making past due utility payments.”
Funding disbursements are being divided into pools to ensure small landlords can participate in the program and are afforded the chance to submit payment requests. Forty percent of the allocated dollars will go to landlords with eight or fewer housing units. Sixty percent of the funding will be allocated for landlords with more than eight housing units. These payments are earmarked from a portion of the $9.6 million recently received from Treasury, in addition to the balance of funds the City expects to receive from the State. To date, the State has transferred $5.6 million of the $14 million set aside for Orleans Parish.
With the new guidance and availability for funding, the City is urging landlords against filing evictions as Governor John Bel Edwards’ eviction moratorium is set to expire on Sept. 24. The City is confident that these resources can be dispersed timely, ahead of eviction filing and unit turnover.
For more information or for the revised landlord application, visit ready.nola.gov, or the City of New Orleans Office of Housing Policy and Community Development (1340 Poydras Street, 10th Floor).