Congress returned from recess in July and didn’t go on an August recess, but residents still don’t have answers to whether unemployment benefits will be extended, by how much, or if there will be an extension of some of the protections offered by the CARES Act since many have ended. The Louisiana delegation, Senators in particular, must #PutHousingFirst and support residents across the state. Almost half of all renters in Louisiana spent more than 30% of their income on housing costs pre-COVID 19 when the housing wage was $17.48/hour for a modest two-bedroom unit. Cities like New Orleans and Lafayette have an even higher housing wage. Senator Cassidy suggests reducing employment benefits to 70 – 75% of previous wages. Even pre-Covid renters were struggling because unemployment benefits amounted to $15/hour, which still did not match the housing wage for our state. 56% of Louisiana renters are at risk of eviction without additional assistance. Our state needs an estimated range of $250-$500 million to keep renters in their homes through the end of this year.
Homeowners across the state are facing similar issues. While 18% of homeowners across the state were cost-burdened pre-COVID, those numbers are likely to worsen due to the economic impact of the coronavirus. Louisiana ranks second in the nation in the percentage of homeowners who were late on their mortgage payments in June, with more than 11% of home mortgages past-due or delinquent. The national average is 7.6%. More of this and we could be in a foreclosure crisis worse than the 2008 financial market crash.
Louisiana residents are in desperate need housing assistance. Fortunately, Senators have been presented with multiple bills that can address the coronavirus’ impact on housing across the state and nation, some of which are already approved by House of Representatives:
We urge you to contact your Senator and tell them to #PutHousingFirst and support one or more of these bills. Contact information and sample text below:
“I’m urging you to provide housing relief to the residents of Louisiana. There is an immediate need, with residents at risk of evictions and foreclosure, and I ask that you consider the supporting one or more of the following bills:
- The HEROES Act
- Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020
- Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act of 2020
- The Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act
All of these bills can address the housing crisis we’re facing. Housing is the linchpin to opportunity, and we cannot adequately address the coronavirus without it. Housing is healthcare and Housing is essential. Louisiana residents need housing relief now.
Thank you for your consideration and support these bills.”