Modern Neighborhood

Applicant FAQ

Click each subheading to view related questions and answers.

> OVERVIEW

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.




What is the purpose and current status of the Treasury ERA program?


The new ERA will support tenant and landlord applicants with access to additional funding of past due rent (arrears) that, in most cases, will be disbursed directly to the landlords on the tenant’s behalf. Like previous emergency rental funding, the Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) will play a critical role in administering federal funds. Applicants who have already received assistance from the Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program (LERAP) administered by the LHC will automatically transition to this new Treasury ERA program. They will be contacted by LHC rental assistance staff for additional documentation toward evaluation of their applications. LERAP applicants who applied but have not yet received funding, and reside within the 57 parishes covered by the new program, will need to register as new users in the State’s ERA online application portal. Seven parishes have elected to administer their own programs. Tenants and landlords within the parishes of Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans, and St. Tammany will need to apply within those specific programs instead. 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 eviction moratoria




What is the difference between LERAP and this new program being administered by the State?


LERAP represented the first phase of immediate emergency rental funding for the State of Louisiana tenants and landlords. The new program funded by the U.S. Treasury is taking on a two-pronged implementation approach for meeting the continued needs of renters and landlords impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The (LHC), in partnership with the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD), will administer 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 (LGUs) 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).





> HOW TO APPLY

Who can apply to the Treasury ERA program?


An application for rental assistance may be submitted by either an eligible tenant or landlord within the 57 parishes. Generally, both parties will be required to provide information during the application process.




Does Treasury ERA funding go to tenants or landlords?


In almost all circumstances, the payment will go directly to landlords. Federal rules provide that if a landlord refuses to participate in the program, a tenant can still apply.




What are the program eligibility criteria for tenants?


Tenants must be able to demonstrate all the following to be eligible for the program:

  • Experienced a financial hardship, as a result of COVID-19;
  • Demonstrate that they are at risk of housing instability or homelessness; and
  • Household income is 80% or lower of Area Median Income (AMI). Refer to AMI data from Department of Housing & Urban Development.




What are the program eligibility criteria for landlords?


In order to participate in the state administered program, landlords must agree to the following:

  • Forgive late fees, penalties, interest; not charge for court costs.
  • Provide legal commitment to not evict tenant
    • For past due rent prior to April 2020 (this program will pay arrears dating back to April 1, 2020) and
    • For at least 60 days after assistance ends unless eviction is for cause
  • Agree to terms of assistance and submit required documentation, including a W-9.




If I have not previously received funding under LERAP, how do I apply under this new ERA program?


Eligible applicants residing in one of the 57 state program parishes (either tenant or landlord) should visit www.LAStateRent.com to begin the application process. If online access to the application is a challenge, applicants may call 877-459-6555 for support. Eligible applicants residing in one of the seven Local Government Units administering their own ERA 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.

  • Caddo Parish
  • Calcasieu Parish
  • East Baton Rouge Parish
  • Jefferson Parish
  • Lafayette Parish
  • Orleans Parish
  • St. Tammany Parish




What if I am having trouble uploading documents or saving changes to my application within the Applicant Portal?


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.




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 State of Louisiana’s U.S. Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance program. These eligible applicants are encouraged to apply to the program at LAStateRent.com. For additional questions or support, call the Contact Center at (877) 459-6555.





> FUNDING REQUIREMENTS

What are the income requirements for new applicants?


The project 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). Refer to AMI data from HUD.




What is the evaluation criteria under the new Treasury program?


Applicants must provide documentation to validate economic hardship. They also must demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.

  • To the extent that it is administratively feasible, applicants must have:
    • (i) qualified for unemployment benefits or
    • (ii) 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.




How is household income defined and verified for this program?


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 must provide income source documentation for at least the two months prior to the submission of the program application. Acceptable documentation includes:

  • wage statements
  • interest statements
  • unemployment compensation statements
  • IRS Form 1040 filed for the 2020 calendar year





> FEATURES

Can Treasury ERA program funding be combined with other funding?


ERA 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 ERA assistance, provided that ERA 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.




How will applications be prioritized?


The system of record will prioritize applicants meeting 50% AMI with arrears and those unemployed for at least 90 days, per parish allocation. Currently, the prioritization scale is as follows:
Tier 1: <= 50% AMI
Tier 2: >50% and <=80% AMI
Within each Tier, applicants who are >90 days unemployed and/ or have been notified of eviction proceedings or past due rent will be prioritized. Further prioritization will occur among applicants relative to the number of months of past due rent claimed on their applications. As applicants apply to the program, they will be processed if they meet the prioritization criteria noted above.




How will applications be processed and maintained under the Treasury ERA program?


Applicant information, including applications and any other supporting documentation, will be housed in the program’s online portal which is accessible to both tenant and landlord applicants. 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.




Will “unsafe or unhealthy living conditions” be utilized as an indicator of housing instability for the State’s ERA program?


No. The State of Louisiana will not utilize this eligibility threshold for the ERA program.




When do applications become inactive and withdrawn?


Applications may be considered inactive and withdrawn from the process after 21 calendar days if no response is received from the tenant. If a tenant is responsive, but a landlord is not within the 21 days, the program will follow the process for paying the tenant directly.




Is there a deadline to submit my application?


No, there is no set deadline for application submissions; however, applications will be accepted until all program funds are fully expended. Funds are limited.





> AVAILABLE ASSISTANCE

What legal requirements are necessary in order to participate?


  • ERA assistance cannot be used to pay mortgages.
  • Eligible state program applicants could receive up to 100% of all past due rent dating back to April 1, 2020 (capped at 12 months), and up to an additional 3 months of future rent to help ensure housing stability.
    • These amounts will be subject to a cap based on the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) fair market rents.




Are partial rent payments available?


Yes, partial payments to address past due rents (arrears) will be allowed as tenants may have been making small payments towards their amounts owed and would not need the full month payments.




Will the program cover utilities? Can I get assistance with respect to utility or energy costs without also covering rent?


The state-administered program is expanding to cover utility expenses for eligible renter applicants. An eligible renter must request rental assistance (either arrears, forward or both) in order to receive utility assistance. There is no option for a utility-only application.

The renter should input related information into the designated fields within Applicant Portal at the time of application to be considered for this utility assistance. Utility payments will be made directly to the utility provider on behalf of the renter applicant.

If an applicant has already submitted an application, there is still an opportunity for the program to cover utilities. Create a Utilities Assistance Help Ticket with all of the requested utility billing information.

Locally administered programs may offer utility assistance and applicants residing outside of the State’s programming for 57 parishes should consult with their local jurisdictions




What expenses are covered under the state-administered program?


  • Financial assistance under this program may be awarded for expenses related to past-due rent incurred as early as April 1, 2020, late fees up to $100/mo., past-due utility expenses incurred as early as April 1, 2020 and forward rent.




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.




Can an applicant who has successfully received rental funding through the program return to request assistance with utilities?


Yes, an eligible applicant can submit a new request through the Applicant Portal for utility funding. A renter must meet program eligibility criteria to qualify for utility assistance.




What portion of my utility bill can the program cover?


The state-administered Emergency Rental Assistance Program seeks to provide assistance with past-due utilities and home energy costs, including electricity, gas, fuel oil, water and sewer, and trash removal. Our goal with respect to utility assistance is to help eligible renters get caught up with their past-due utility costs.

  • Please 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.




If I apply for both rental and utility assistance, will those requests be processed at the same time, or would one or the other be paid first?


Applications for rental and utilities assistance are processed independently.