Governor Ralph Northam launched the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program, which will provide $50 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for households facing eviction or foreclosure. Eligible households may receive help with rent and mortgage payments.
In the Louisa area, the program will be administered through the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission in Charlottesville. Nonprofit organizations and local governments will receive upfront funds to distribute on behalf of eligible households. Housing counseling and other technical assistance is also available.
Eligible households must demonstrate an inability to make rent or mortgage payments due to the pandemic. Monthly rent or mortgage must be at or below 150 percent Fair Market Rent, and eligible households must have a gross household income at or below 80 percent of area median income.
To ensure funding assists households most in need, the program will complete targeted outreach to communities of color across Virginia. Before the pandemic, analysis from RVA Eviction Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University found that minority communities had higher eviction rates, even after controlling for income, property value, and other characteristics. The pandemic has also had a disproportionate impact on people of color.
“We urge all tenant advocates, landlords, lenders, philanthropy, local governments and faith communities to partner with your local program providers to ensure that these funds stretch as far as possible to Virginians most in need of this assistance.” said Erik Johnston, who directs the state Department of Housing and Community Development.
The program will also give precedence to households without other federal and state eviction or foreclosure protections. From June 29 to July 20, priority will be given to households with current gross incomes equal to or below 50 percent of AMI. After July 20, households with current gross incomes at or below 80 percent of AMI will be also be included.
In addition, households with an eviction action in court dated prior to June 8 will be given top consideration.
To conduct a self-assessment for eligibility, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility or call 211 VIRGINIA by dialing 2-1-1 from your phone. Tenants and homeowners are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent and mortgages on time if they are able. Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for additional information and resources.