It ain’t easy being the First City Court Clerk these days. Just ask Austin Badon, the man doing the job. If dealing with COVID related issues wasn’t enough, his office has found itself inundated with something even more ubiquitous: eviction cases.

Sharp Rise in Cases

“We used to see maybe 5 or 6 cases a day,” Badon says, “but now it’s close to 40 in some instances.”

At the rate evictions are going, the city will more than double the amount of cases it saw last year. The impetus behind this has been people not having enough money to pay their bills of course. It’s become a nation-wide problem since COVID. But the federal response hasn’t helped.

“When the federal government gave out emergency rental assistance, they gave the money directly to the tenant. And in too many instances, the tenant didn’t pay their rent with the money.”

Clerk of Court Austin Badon

And that has left Badon’s office inundated with landlords filing papers to get these people off their property.

“It breaks my heart,” Badon says, “because a lot of these cases we’re talking about families getting kicked out of their homes. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that a lot these landlords are moms and pops with bills themselves.”  For awhile they were patient. But the goodwill from the holidays are gone. And the moratorium on evictions has been lifted. That means those moms and pops are now looking for their money.

In a sensible world, instead of having the renters file for and receive rental assistance, the money would’ve went straight to the landlord. That way the tenant would’ve been secure regardless what the landlord did with the money. But the federal government doesn’t always operate like it’s a sensible world. Apparently, things have changed. According to Badon, now landlords can file for assistance. And they’ll receive the money even in cases where the tenant files too.

More Money is on the Way

So far the city has received close to $40 million in federal rental assistance. And it is set to receive $25 million more. That’s projected to last 6 months according to the city’s website.

That should calm evictions down. But it’s a stop gap approach. What’s also complicating matters is gentrification. As more neighborhoods become gentrified, the cost to live there goes up. And there hadn’t been a direct proportion between rent hikes and wages. But there has been one between rent hikes and crime.

It’s no coincidence that the city has seen a spike in crime at the same time people are struggling to pay their rent. “It does have a trickle down effect,”Badon says. And it will continue to do so until the city begins investing in the communities it has neglected for so long.

In the meantime, all Badon can do is process the eviction cases as they come through his office. It costs $127.50 to get the paperwork started. And it’s another $60 for a constable to enforce the eviction order, if approved by a judge.

Renters who feel they’re being unfairly treated have resources as well. Southeast Louisiana Legal Services offers free legal services to low income people in need.

 Evictions are a messy business. And they are just one of many problems the city finds itself facing in the New Year. But hopefully it’s one it puts at the forefront of getting resolved.

#Evictions in NOLA

#Evictions Rise in NOLA

#Evictions lead to crime

One thought on “The City Faces A Spike In Evictions, As Well As Crime”
  1. If you received rent assistance and did not pay your landlord, get up of the people house. They are living that life of living off the government. They don’t know they are still living like slaves. Take care of yourselves and get a job! If you on any federal assistance, like food Stamps, SSI, and Section8, the government is taking care of you. Help yourself! This is my opinion and I stand by it! I’m just saying!

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