Tenants on the verge of homelessness in New Orleans can get help to prevent an eviction. There are several resources focused on keeping families housed, many of which are funded by federal government grants that are issued from the Housing and Urban Development Department, or HUD. Other solutions range from legal aid to mediation services and more.
Since the goal of the program is on preventing homelessness in Orleans parish, there may also be assistance for rehousing those that have been recently evicted. However this is only a possible once the financial condition of the individual has been stabilized.
There are a few agencies that receive funds each and every year from government. It is an annual distribution that occurs, and the name of the program is Emergency Solution Grants, or ESG. The money available in New Orleans Louisiana (like all all parts of the country) is limited and only certain expenses can be paid with the funds. One use of the money that is given to the city is to try to stop an eviction, or to at least postpone it.
The money is made available to address a crisis situation. Once a resident has applied for financial help an interview/assessment will take place. Based on the results of this, some form of determination will be made. If funds are issued to the tenant as part of ESG, then the money can be used for paying rent arrears, energy bills, and other costs that may be leading to the eviction.
If the agency is New Orleans can't assist, as maybe the applicant is not qualified or the funds have run out, then referrals are often given. Many non-profits often work with other agencies in the community, such as legal firms or local housing authorities, which may run their own eviction assistance programs. Those can be effective in dealing with more non-financial challenges, such as disputes over improvements or repairs to the home, late rent, and noise disturbances.
As a last resort, the staff at the agency will advise the person on how to prepare to be evicted. They may tell the client upon local shelters as well as soup kitchens, and offer general, practical support. The lawyers who offer legal support can provide details on public housing in New Orleans or nearby Jefferson Parish that may be open to evicted families.
In some cases, the family is just too far behind on their rent or the legal issues with the landlord are so extensive that the only option is to go through the legal eviction process. When this occurs, agencies in New Orleans as well as Jefferson Parish will then work with the resident in an effort to rehouse them.
This is a separate task that involves many steps. Organizations that receive funding from ESG have determined that there is no reason in trying to get someone onto a new home or apartment if they do not have the ability to sustain the ongoing rent payment on their own. So any funds paid towards security deposits or other expenses would not be effective. If the family is not self-sufficient then studies show they will more than likely be evicted again in the near future.
Rehousing can provide the resident of Orleans Parish with a temporary grant. The money from the federal government can pay for utilities or first months rent. Some of the agencies that administer it may distribute a voucher to pay for a motel in Louisiana for a night or two. In come cases ESG may help with a security deposit assistance and ongoing rental payment for a short period of time, such as 1 to 3 months.
The process will also include short to medium term case management. Once that process has ended, the tenant can still seek further advice from a social worker, but it is just not a formal part of rehousing. They will need to seek this out on their own. However, it is always encouraged to do this as a key to preventing evictions is seeking support early and often.
There are several agencies that participate in homeless and eviction prevention programs in New Orleans. For an appointment and/or further information, dial 504-569-8949.
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