What is the source of program funding?
On December 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 133) became law. This relief package includes $25 billion for emergency rental assistance, of which $161 million was allocated to the State of Louisiana to provide assistance in 57 parishes.
The state-administered ERAP program, funded by the U.S. Treasury, uses a two-pronged implementation approach for meeting the continued needs of renters and landlords impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Louisiana Housing Corporation, in partnership with the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development, is administering the program in 57 Louisiana parishes with a funding allocation of $161 million per the recent federal COVID relief legislation.
The following local government units have received $59 million in relief funds directly from the U.S. Treasury Department and are administering their own local programs: Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans, and St. Tammany parishes.
To learn more about the U.S. Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Program, click here.
What is the purpose and current status of the ERAP program?
The program can support tenant and landlord applicants with access to assistance with past-due rent, forward rent in three-month increments and past-due utilities and penalty fees, which will be disbursed directly to the landlords or utility service on the renter’s behalf, in most cases.
The main objectives of the state ERA program are as follows:
Keep people housed during the pandemic by preventing evictions for failure to pay rent
Serve maximum number of households as quickly as possible while prioritizing those in greatest need
Ensure equitable geographic distribution of assistance
Compensate landlords for unpaid rent during the pandemic
What can I do if I am facing eviction and my application has not yet been completed or processed?
If you need immediate assistance related to your application, you can all the program hotline at 877.459.6555 or you can email the program at [email protected]. Be sure to include your application ID number in the subject line to be contacted within 24 hours and include your full name and address in the email.
There are also free resources available to help prevent homelessness, including:
Call 211 to locate shelter and homelessness prevention resources nearby.
Visit www.LAHousingSearch.com or call 1-877-428-8844 to search for available affordable housing.
Visit Louisiana’s Housing Coordinated Entry Access Points www.laboscoc.org/housing-and-services or call 225-388-5800 for local homelessness prevention resources.
Visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s list of community partners www.hud.gov/states/louisiana/homeless.
Visit www.LouianaLawHelp.org for more information on the Louisiana eviction process.
Visit www.Ready.NOLA.gov for information on renter's rights and guidance related to evictions, especially following a disaster.
Who can apply for assistance from the Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program?
Both renters and landlords within the 57 parishes where the Louisiana ERAP is administered can apply. Generally, both parties will be required to provide information during the application process.
I am a renter, how do I know if I am eligible?
Renters must be able to demonstrate all the following to be eligible for the program:
Lives in a parish covered by the program
At least one individual in the household qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19
Received a past due rent notice, past due utility notice, or an eviction notice or is experiencing housing instability
Household income does not exceed 80% of area median income limit (AMI)
I am a landlord, how do I know if I am eligible?
In order to participate in the state administered program, landlords must agree to the following:
Have a tenant who is behind on rent and who agrees to apply to the ERAP program
Agree to terms of assistance and submit required documentation, including an IRS W-9 Form
Agree not to evict the tenant for past due rent prior to April 2020
Agree not evict the tenant for at least 60 days after assistance ends unless eviction is for cause
Forgive penalties, interest and court costs related to rent incurred between April 2020 and date of remittance of program rental assistance, with the exception of late fees up to $100 per month, as prescribed within current lease terms.
What are the income requirements for renters?
The ERAP program limits eligibility to households with income that does not exceed 80 percent of area median income, as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), for the parish where they reside. To view AMI data by parish, click here.
Are renters and/or landlords of mobile homes eligible to receive assistance under this program?
Rental payments for either manufactured homes and / or the parcel of land the manufactured home occupies are eligible for financial assistance under the Louisiana ERAP. These eligible applicants are encouraged to apply to the program by visiting the Application Portal. For additional questions or support, call the Contact Center at 877.459.6555.
Will state and local standard definitions of “unsafe or unhealthy living conditions” for rental property be considered as an indicator of housing instability for the Louisiana ERAP?
No. The Louisiana ERAP will not use that standard as part of the criteria for evaluating housing instability.
How do I apply for the Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program?
Applicants residing in one of the 57 state program parishes (either tenant or landlord) should visit the Application Portal to begin the application process. If online access to the application is a challenge, applicants may call 877.459.6555 for support.
Applicants residing in one of the seven Local Government Units administering their own emergency rental assistance programs need to contact those parish program administrators listed below for application procedures in their respective communities. These programs may vary in terms of eligibility, prioritization, benefits and application process.
* The ERA Program for Lafayette Parish is being administered by two programs. To view contact information for each program, click here.
What will I need to provide to prove my financial hardship or housing instability?
Applicants must provide documentation or certified self-attestation to validate eligibility and financial hardship. For a list of required information and documents, review the program applicant checklists here.
To the extent that it is administratively feasible, applicants must demonstrate they have:
A household income does not exceed 80% of area median income limit (AMI)
Qualified for unemployment benefits, or
Experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19 that threaten the household’s ability to pay the costs of the rental property when due.
Received a past due rent notice, past due utility notice, or an eviction notice or is experiencing housing instability
How is household income defined and verified?
Applicants must submit an accurate count of every member of their household and the income generated by all members of the household of age 18 and over. Failure to do so may result in the household being deemed ineligible based on the household's income exceeding the 80% of area median income.
To verify income, tenants will be asked to provide income source documentation for at least the two months prior to the submission of the program application.
Acceptable documentation includes:
Personal wage information available from the Louisiana Workforce Commission to verify your income.
IRS Form 1040 filed for the 2020 calendar year
W-2 wage statements for 2020
Two most recent pay stubs
Signed payment schedule from an employer
Unemployment compensation statements
Provide self-attestation and/or self-certification of financial hardship, risk of homelessness or housing instability, and income, as necessary.
I am having trouble uploading documents and updating my application within the Applicant Portal. How do I get help?
Please make sure that you are using an updated Internet browser when trying to upload documents in the Applicant Portal. In many browsers, like Google Chrome, the top right corner will indicate when an update is overdue or ready.
If your computer is still having issues saving new documents or information, log into the Applicant Portal on your phone and submit those documents or information using your phone's Internet browser. Additionally, there are apps available to download on your mobile smartphone device to facilitate the document scanning and upload process. These apps can use the phone’s photo function to create a scan of your document(s) and make those scanned files available for sharing. We encourage applicants to research and utilize if available and accessible on your mobile device.
Should you continue to experience challenges in uploading your required application documents after troubleshooting with the options detailed above, call the Contact Center at 877.459.6555 to help address those issues. You may email scanned documents to [email protected], include your application ID number in the subject line to be contacted within 24 hours, and your full name and address in the email. There is also a video you can watch here.
How are Louisiana ERAP applications processed, and how is applicant information stored?
Applicant information, including applications and any other supporting documentation, will be stored securely in the program’s online portal. Both renters and landlord can access the portal and submit documents and information. Applicants will receive program notifications and updates regarding their applications from the online system and can contact program case managers and / or administrators via the online portal. Should an applicant be unable to access the online portal or have other technical challenges, the applicant can call the Contact Center at 877.459.6555 to submit necessary documentation.
Is there a cost or a deadline to submit my application?
No, there is no cost and no set deadline for application submissions; however, applications will be accepted until all program funds are fully expended.
What happens if I don’t finish my application within a certain amount of time?
An application may be considered inactive after 21 calendar days if no response is received from the renter, and it will be withdrawn from the review process. A renter can reactivate an inactive application at any time without starting a new application. If a renter is responsive, but a landlord does not respond to program contact within the 21 days, the program will follow the process for paying the tenant directly.
If I apply for both rental and utility assistance, will those requests be processed at the same time?
Once an applicant is approved to receive rental assistance, payment to landlords and to utility providers are processed and paid separately.
What if my name is not on the utility bill?
Within the system, you have the option to select whether the account holder is someone who is not a member of the household.
If I have already received rental assistance through the program, can I also receive assistance with utilities?
Yes, if you have already received rental assistance from the program, you can access your application file through the Applicant Portal to add a request for assistance for utilities. Create a Utilities Assistance Help Ticket with all of the requested utility billing information.
Funding and Payment
How are the funds distributed?
In almost all circumstances, the rent payments will go directly to landlords. Federal rules provide that if a landlord refuses to participate in the program, a tenant can still apply and receive emergency rental assistance. Utility payments will go directly to utility providers.
What type of utility assistance is covered by the Louisiana ERAP?
The program can provide assistance to renter applicants with past-due and current utilities and home energy costs, including electricity, gas, fuel oil, water and sewer, and trash removal for up to 15 months total. Submit a new ticket for each utility service you are requesting. For example, if you are requesting electricity and gas, two separate utilities tickets are required.
Can I get assistance with utility bills without requesting rental assistance?
Renter applicants must request rental assistance (either past-due rent, forward rent or both) in order to receive utility assistance. There is no option for a utility-only application. Utility payments will be made directly to the utility provider on behalf of the renter applicant.
If an applicant has already applied for rental assistance, there is still an opportunity for the program to cover utilities. To add a request for utility assistance, access your online application and create a Utilities Assistance Help Ticket with all of the requested utility billing information.
Residents living outside of the 57 parishes where the Louisiana ERAP is administered should contact their parish program directly for information on available utility assistance.
Can ERAP funding be combined with other funding?
ERAP program and payments cannot be duplicated by any other federally funded rental assistance provided to an eligible household. Examples of this restriction listed below.
An eligible household that occupies a federally subsidized residential or mixed-use property may receive ERAP assistance, provided that ERAP funds are not applied to costs that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal assistance.
If an eligible household receives a monthly federal subsidy (e.g., a Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, or Project- Based Rental Assistance) and the tenant rent is adjusted according to changes in income, the renter household may not receive ERA assistance.
If a household receives rental assistance other than the ERA, the ERA assistance may only be used to pay for costs, such as the tenant-paid portion of rent and utility costs, that are not paid for by the other rental assistance. Pursuant to section 501(k)(3)(B) of Subdivision N of the Act and 2 CFR 200.403, when providing ERA assistance, the grantee must review the household’s income and sources of assistance to confirm that the ERA assistance does not duplicate any other assistance, including federal, state, and local assistance provided for the same costs.
Are partial rent payments available?
Yes, partial payments to address past due rent will be allowed in instances where tenants may have been making smaller payments towards their total amount owed and would not need the full-month payments.
Are there situations where funds received from the program must be paid back?
Yes, there may be instances where funds must be repaid to the Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program if they are not able to be used for the specific purpose for which they were received. For example, if a tenant vacates a rental unit before the end of the assistance period, the excess funds must be repaid, or if a utility provider received payment for services after those services were terminated, the utility provider must repay the difference. If you have questions about whether repayment is required, contact [email protected].
In instance of REPAYMENT:
All landlord or tenant applicants or utility company repaying funds must issue a check made out to “GOHSEP” (“State of Louisiana” is also acceptable) with the Tenant’s Name and Applicant ID in the memo line. The check is to be mailed to the following address:
LA Emergency Rental Assistance Program
8550 United Plaza Blvd., Box 202
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
I have applied, and I was determined to be ineligible. Can I appeal?
Yes. The applicant will be sent a Notice of Ineligibility by email that includes information about how the applicant may appeal the decision. If the program has determined an applicant is ineligible based on the information received in the application and the renter or landlord applicant has additional information that would affect that determination, then the applicant should send an appeal to [email protected]. The State will respond to appeals within 15 days upon receipt, after conducting a review. In the appeal, please be sure to include your: Application ID, Applicant Name, and a detailed explanation of the request to appeal.
An applicant is allowed only ONE appeal and the review determination cannot be further appealed.