EBR Parish Housing Authority gives updates on housing assistance program during COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Apr. 14, 2020 at 8:56 PM CDT
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EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority (EBRPHA) Director J. Wesley Daniels discussed the status of the agency’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, an income-based housing assistance program.

Daniels told reporters in a tele-press conference the agency is committed to upholding its promise to residents in the program and its partners, a total of 1,200 landlords in East Baton Rouge and parts of Iberville parishes. Daniels says the agency has already paid its portion of rent to landlords for the month of April.

Daniels is urging tenants who have lost income due the coronavirus to file a report with the agency to make adjustments to the renter’s portion of rent due. Daniels says they have been in communication with landlords in the program about threats of eviction to tenants who are currently unable to pay rent.

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“To those owners that continue to act outside of a manor to which our expectations, which is stellar treatment of our residents, then we are going to have conversations with them,” Daniels said.

He says tenants who are receiving threats should report them to the agency. He says they would consider ending contracts with partners if threats persist, although that’s a worst case scenario.

Daniels also says they’re temporarily stopping annual home inspections. Current participants would automatically qualify for a contract renewal. However, he says they’re not giving out new vouchers to individuals are not currently in the Home Choice Voucher program, but he says he’s hopeful that may change soon.

“We believe through the CARES Act and through some supplemental funding that will be coming down from Washington, we may have the ability to issue more vouchers,” Daniels said.

Officials with EBRPHA report there are currently 10,618 residents receiving Housing Choice vouchers, which provide an estimated $30 million per year for housing assistance.

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