Joanna Boj, Unsplash

Louisiana Hospitality Workers Granted Another Opportunity for Hurricane Relief

15:00 November 16, 2021
By: Re'gine Smith

Louisiana sure does know how to band together and assist those who are in a rut. When it comes to natural disasters and the impact it has on us, we're never too short of help in the midst thereof and beyond.

In 2020, Hurricanes Laura and Delta set many of us back a bit. And with Hurricane Ida in 2021, there came even more devastation. Hospitality workers tend to suffer the most when natural disasters occur. Depending on their worksite and position, many of them may get laid off due to the damaged job properties; others may have to work long hours in hotels for people who need rooms. Even linemen that fix electricity poles work incredibly long hours to get residents' power back on.

To get an idea of what hospitality workers do, here's some insight: according to Ministry of Business, Innovation, & Employment, a hospitality worker provides services to patrons of hotels, bars, cafés, restaurants, clubs, quick-service restaurants, catering companies, casinos, or similar businesses. That's some serious stuff. People go out to eat all the time. People need hotel rooms when they're on vacation or may need some time away from home for some peace and quiet or to get business done. And many people enjoy gambling. These types of businesses get hit hard and lose a lot of money when a hurricane hits. Those who work in cafés, casinos, and hotels get physically and mentally exhausted from the stress they experience.

Hospitality workers need not fret any longer because The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation is committing $100,000 to execute their Hurricane Relief Program. The program provides one-time $500 grants to eligible hospitality workers who have had some trouble maintaining expenses. When Hurricane Ida made landfall, 25 parishes in Louisiana were declared disaster areas by FEMA. Everyone, including thousands of hospitality workers, had to decide, "Do I stay?" or "Do I evacuate?" Staying meant living with the possibility of surviving without electricity and running water. If you rode the hurricane out, you had to scurry pretty much to purchase necessities after the storm. And getting generators was hell because so many people were buying them all at once, sometimes getting more than one at a time. Evacuating meant dealing with unplanned expenses for transportation, housing, and meals to get you by until everything calmed down.

The storm resulted in closures and damages, which left hospitality workers out of a job. Bills are still a factor and responsibility for them. They have to live. They continue to search for help in any way they can get it. But more is needed. Families will be thrilled to know that the Hurricane Relief Program is giving them the support they need. Also supporting is Bud Light, Bulleit Frontier Fund, Tito's Handmade Vodka, Commander's Palace, Entergy, and other businesses.

Each applicant must meet all three program eligibility requirements:

  1. Applicant must live in one of the following 25 parishes: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana.
  2. Applicant must be directly employed at a Louisiana restaurant, bar, or hotel.
  3. Applicant must have experienced a housing or utility financial emergency as a result of Hurricane Ida.

Keep in mind that available funds are limited. That means that not every qualified request for funding will be approved.

The following documents are required as part of the online application process:

  1. Proof of Residence: Applicant must upload ONE of the following for proof of residence:
    • Louisiana driver's license (cannot be expired)
    • Louisiana state issued ID (cannot be expired)
    • Lease with applicant's name (must include all pages, from page 1 to signature page)
    • Mortgage statement with applicant's name
    • Water, Gas, or Utility bill in applicant's name (cell phone and internet utility bills WILL NOT be accepted)
  2. Proof of Hospitality Industry Employment: Applicant must upload ONE paystub from their employer dated between July 1, 2021 and August 29, 2021. Paystub must include the applicant's name, the employer's name, and days worked in the above stated time period.
  3. Proof of Financial Burden: Applicant must show proof of financial burden for either housing or utilities expenses.
    • If applicant is applying for housing assistance, they must upload one of the following:
      • Lease with applicant's name (must include all pages, from page 1 to signature page)
      • Mortgage statement with applicant's name
    • If applicant is applying for utilities assistance, they must upload one of the following:
      • Water, Gas, or Utility bill in applicant's name

Note: Cell phone and internet utility bills WILL NOT be accepted.

To apply for the Round Two Hurricane Reflief Program, click HERE.

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