Lafayette, LA – Help is available to Lafayette Parish home renters struggling to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Renters can apply for aid through the Lafayette Emergency Assistance Program (LEAP), funded by the federal government’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Funds are dedicated to low- and moderate-income renter households throughout Lafayette Parish
Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) has been granted $7 million to assist eligible households with paying rent and back rent (rental arrears) as well as current and missed utility payments. LCG is partnering with Catholic Charities of Acadiana (CCA) and SMILE Community Action Agency to disburse the much-needed funds.
“These funds will help create stability for our residents who’ve been suffering from the impact of the pandemic. Many of our own are unemployed or are working reduced hours, and no one should have to worry about having a roof over their heads or fear having utilities disconnected,” Mayor-President Josh Guillory said.
Emergency funds must first be used to pay overdue rent before receiving assistance for future rent payments. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of rental assistance or up to 12 months of overdue rental assistance, plus an additional three months if it’s determined the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability. If needed, households may reapply for additional aid at the end of the three-month period if the overall time limit of 12 months for assistance is not exceeded.
Eligibility is based on a renter household in which at least one or more individuals meets the following criteria:
· Qualifies for unemployment or has had a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19
· Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
· Household income must not exceed 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Lafayette Parish.
Follow this link to find income limits: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il/il2020/2020summary.odn
Priority for assistance is given to eligible households that include someone who has been unemployed for 90 days prior to application and households with income at or below 50 percent of the AMI for Lafayette Parish. Household income is determined as either the household’s total income for calendar year 2020 or the household’s monthly income at the time of application. For households using monthly incomes, eligibility must be redetermined every three months.
Applications will be accepted beginning Thursday, April 1, 2021.
HOW TO APPLY
Online · Catholic Charities of Acadiana at www.catholiccharitiesacadiana.org
· SMILE Community Action Agency www.smilecaa.org.
· SMILE Community Action Agency, 501 St. John Street, Lafayette, or call 337-234-3272 Ext. 200.
· Applicants needing assistance with filling out the application can call the Lafayette Consolidated Government Human Services Division at 337-291-5450 or visit the office at 111 Shirley Picard Drive.