CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As Charlottesville continues to grapple with the issue of affordable housing, the city is also worried about evictions. New legislation in the U.S. Senate tackling the issue could find support in Charlottesville’s city council on Monday.
Charlottesville’s new city council is meeting Monday night for the very first time. One of their first actions will be to consider support for a bipartisan U.S. Senate bill that would provide short-term relief to people facing eviction.
“I think it’s pretty much true anywhere that eviction quite often causes that kind of death spiral for a family,” Dan Rosensweig, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, said. “That ruins their credit. It impacts their ability to get new housing, without safe, stable housing everything else starts to fall apart.”
Charlottesville City Council is set to vote on a resolution to support the Eviction Crisis Act.
"Many families who are evicted it's over amounts of money from $500 to $1,000. So what this fund would do is provide that temporary assistance, so they're able to cover the rent not be evicted then they'll pay that money back at a later date,” City Councilor Michael Payne said.
It’s a problem nationwide and in the commonwealth. Virginia has five cities in the top 10 nationally for eviction rates, but not Charlottesville.
"Many evictions take place because there's been a sudden change in somebody's situation, they get sick they have a medical bill, and they're forced to make that awful choice between keeping their home, or, or, keeping their credit or something else keeping their kids in school, eating,” Rosensweig said.
Payne says he supports the resolution, but that the city needs to support additional action, like guaranteed housing legislation. "Which does additional things like guaranteed just-cause eviction, ban landlords from being able to discriminate against people because they hold section eight vouchers, and make substantial investments in public housing and social housing in general."
If the city council passes the resolution, they will send a letter urging Senators Kaine and Warner to support the act.
The act would also create a national database to better track the evictions nationwide.