Will budget concerns sink eviction diversion program or will lawmakers go further?

Will budget concerns sink eviction diversion program or will lawmakers go further?
Deputies from the Henrico County Sheriff's Department process an eviction on July 12, 2018. The tenants had already departed and the deputies, after checking the unit to make sure it's empty, watch as the owner changes the unit's locks.

An unprecedented study released last year by researchers at Princeton University put Virginia on blast: The state’s cities have among the highest eviction rates in the country.

In the months that followed, policy makers, tenant advocates and housing industry leaders have put together a range of policy proposals to bring those numbers down. Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam introduced a budget proposal to put $2.6 million toward legal aid for tenants facing eviction.

The discussion already represents a big shift. As recently as earlier this year, momentum had been on the side of landlords, with legislation passing to streamline eviction for some tenants.

Of course, whether the proposed reforms will make it into law remains to be seen. Some lawmakers have questioned the proposals, others have called for them to be expanded.