On Tuesday (May 5), Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the state has committed $10,382,000 in community development block grant (CDBG) funds to the city of New Orleans to support nine affordable rental housing projects that were in danger of losing their funding as a result of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The funding will be administered through the Office of Community Development. It will allow the nine projects that were awarded by the City in January 2020 to continue on their development timeline. The developments were at risk of being postponed or halted after the City redirected local funding from the long-term multifamily developments to combat the effects of the outbreak, which has exacerbated New Orleans’ already critical affordable housing shortage.

“City and state collaboration is an essential part of meeting people where they are in times of emergency,” Said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “I want thank Gov. John Bel Edwards for working with the City to make sure we can continue the long-term work of expanding affordable housing opportunities even while fighting the homelessness challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.”

“I commend Mayor LaToya Cantrell for reprioritizing the city’s housing funds to help those at risk of homelessness, which is another critical step in mitigating the disproportionate suffering caused by this pandemic on housing-vulnerable populations,” Gov. Edwards said. “By directing more CDBG funds toward these projects we are helping to ensure continuation of the City’s progress in addressing its long-term affordable housing challenges.”

In order to assist these households, the City has shifted funds to the following programs:

Rental Assistance Program

The City is providing rental and utility assistance to low income households that have been impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. The rental assistance grant is based on the tenant’s ability to pay and the amount of funds needed to bring the account current.

Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA)

The TBRA program will provide payments to make up the difference between the amount a household can afford to pay for housing and the rent standard. TBRA funds will be used specifically to assist individuals or households who are at risk of losing permanent housing or those who are in transitional housing and are able to move to permanent housing.

Shelter Expansion and Rehabilitation Program

The City issued a Shelter Expansion and Rehabilitation Program offering to increase the number of available shelter beds to address the nearly 400 unsheltered homeless individuals in New Orleans. The City expects to increase shelter capacity by 300 beds while it works to identify more permanent housing solutions for our unsheltered population.  

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