Rent Relief in Virginia ending
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Rent Relief Program Portal has been helping people all throughout the commonwealth since the start of the pandemic, but applications for that help comes to an end at midnight May 15.
“The federal government gave states these huge pots of money to help people pay their rent. These are people who lost income or had increased expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which sadly, is like huge, huge chunks of the population,” Victoria Horrock with the Legal Aid Justice Center said.
The federal government gave Virginia $1 billion in aid for rental assistance. Now that money is almost gone.
“Based on how many applications are coming into the program, they are running out of those funds. So they’re stopping taking new applications on May 15,” Horrock said.
The Legal Aid Justice Center has been helping submit applications, but says the pressure is ramping up
“On the 30th of June, a lot of the legal protections for tenants that were paired with that rental assistance are also ending,” Horrock said.
With those protections ending the Legal Aid Justice Center says more people could face eviction.
“We are really concerned that this is going to be the sort of eviction tsunami that everybody’s talked about,” Horrock said.
There is still help at the county and city level.
“We do still have these emergency bill and rental and utility bill assistance programs that will still be taking applications and we need to be proactively letting the community know about it and reaching out to people who may be facing eviction, so they can take advantage of those programs,” Charlottesville City Councilor Michael Payne said.
It’s still unclear if that will be enough to make a difference.
“We need state rental assistance, and we need state money to go for into affordable housing funds, for example, like a state voucher program. So in the long run, those are things the state could do to alleviate this problem,” Horrock said.
The LAJC offers advice and legal services for anyone facing eviction.
LAJC’s Rent Relief Helpline number is 434-326-4305. For assistance through the city or county, call 833-524-2904 or the Spanish line: 434-373-0930.
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