Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Thursday, Oct. 21, signed two ordinances approved by the New Orleans City Council that will add approximately $33 million to the budget for emergency rental assistance. A total of $9.6 million was received directly from the U.S. Department of Treasury, allocated to the City of New Orleans after being recognized as a a high performer.
“The City has demonstrated through the number of applications received and the attendance at community events that the need still far exceeds the available resources. The state is doing the right thing by sending the unused resources to New Orleans,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “It is because of our fiscal prudence that we have these additional funds available for rental assistance that are so desperately needed by our people. The additional funding will help our residents remain housed while they get back on their feet.”
The $23 million of the $33 million is a reallocation from the State, not originally earmarked for the City. Treasury recently released guidance that encouraged grantees to reallocate funds to regions with higher needs and the ability to disperse funds quickly. Any grantees, such as the State, that are unable to meet Treasury’s expenditure guidelines as of Sept. 30, 2021, are at risk for losing funds allocated to them.
“The program continues to evolve with Treasury guidance, and as we find ways to work faster and more efficiently. We will continue to stay at the forefront of the issue,” said Marjorianna Willman, Director of the Office of Housing Policy and Community Development. “To date, the City has assisted close to 8,000 households with rental, utility, relocation and/or legal assistance to prevent evictions and approximately $20 million has been expended.”
The Mayor’s Office of Housing Policy and Community Development has increased the number of staff and is incorporating a call center to provide more immediate assistance. Bigger emphasis will be placed on bulk payments to landlords and utility providers which Treasury made available to grantees in late August.