Southeast Louisiana Legal Services provides free help for renters at risk of eviction

Special Report

Up to 40 million U.S. renters impacted by the COVID-19-related economic downturn could face eviction once federal rental protections end.

In response to this emerging crisis and as part of its $175 million commitment to COVID relief, Wells Fargo is donating $5.4 million in grants to 15 legal assistance organizations that work to keep people and families housed through services and advocacy efforts.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a temporary moratorium halting the eviction of tenants who cannot pay rent through the end of the year, the moratorium requires that tenants must still file a federal declaration form to be eligible for the eviction protection. Additionally, tenants are obligated to navigate varying state laws and local legal proceedings.

A Harvard study found an estimated 90 percent of landlords have legal representation, while only 10 percent of tenants do, putting them at a significant disadvantage. The same study found that two-thirds of tenants with legal representation are more likely to avoid an eviction judgment and remain in their home. Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) is excited to partner with Wells Fargo to provide critical legal assistance to vulnerable people who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evictions have always jeopardized the health and well-being of families, but COVID-19 has raised the stakes, demonstrating the importance of eviction defense and rental assistance. Tenants who need help understanding the new moratorium, filling out their declaration form, or who have questions about eligibility should contact a legal services provider.

Contact SLLS at the SLLS COVID-19 Legal Aid Hotline, 1-844-244-7871.