LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced $20 million in grants for its Eviction Protection Grant program. $1 million will be awarded to Acadiana Legal Service Corporation in Lafayette.

The grants were made available to legal service providers serving or expanding services in areas with high rates of eviction or prospective evictions, including rural areas. They’re intended to help non-profits and governmental entities provide legal assistance to low-income tenants at risk of or subject to eviction. HUD launched the program in November, offering $20 million in grants to 10 organizations at that time. This round of grants is being awarded to 11 cities, including Lafayette.

Legal services are integral in helping individuals and families, especially people of color who are disproportionately represented among those evicted, people with limited English proficiency, and people with disabilities, avoid eviction or minimize the disruption and damage caused by the eviction process, a press release from HUD stated.

The grants come after a federal eviction moratorium, that was enacted under the CARES Act of 2020 in the wake of economic impacts from COVID-19, ended in 2021. There is now currently no ban on evictions from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or U.S. Government.

“The American people have been resilient in the face of historic challenges as we continue to confront the impacts of COVID-19,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “We need to keep doing all that we can to help people maintain quality housing. We know that access to legal services and eviction diversion programs works. It helps people avoid evictions and protects tenants’ rights. Legal services also help landlords access available resources to address rent arrears. We are proud to expand the Eviction Protection Grant Program so that more families have access to eviction protection services.”

Read more about the grant program here.