Virginia’s Supreme Court lifts eviction freeze; Mayor Stoney pledges $6 million in CARES Act funds to help

Ban on evictions lifts on Monday

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The ban on evictions issued by Governor Northam expires on Monday and Virginia’s Supreme Court says it will not extend the freeze, meaning cases will go to court and people removed from their homes.

Earlier in the month, Governor Ralph Northam announced a temporary statewide moratorium on evictions across Virginia to expire on June 28. Richmond Mayor Stoney later asked Northam to continue that until the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.

But now, the state’s highest court says that cannot be extended

The city of Richmond is touting $6 million dollars in CARES Act funds to help with eviction diversion and rental assistance. That’s about 30 percent of all the money the city got from the federal government through the CARES Act.

In a statement, the city says that funding will support both households currently facing evictions pending in the courts as well as those at risk of eviction due to economic challenges from COVID-19.

The statement also highlighted that while there are over 1,900 households pending eviction in the court system, 50% of those households will not be eligible to access the funding because their court filing date preceded the pandemic.

Evictions issues are nothing new to the city.

As of 2016, Richmond had the second-highest eviction rate in the country, according to research from the Eviction Lab at Princeton University.

U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson, says Virginia lawmakers need to take a closer look at this issue, and his agency will assist if needed.

“Obviously it’s an area of concern for all of us and we need to be looking at ways that we can avoid eviction and at the same time make sure people are being responsible but every time somebody is evicted it has a domino effect it’s just not them.”

The CEO of the Virginia Apartment Management Program worries money going to the eviction diversion program is too little too late.

NBC12 asked the city for a breakdown of how the 6 million will be spending and which agencies will get money to disperse.

In the meantime, in a statement Monday, Mayor Levar Stoney says “in the long-term recovery from this crisis, we want to make sure the city’s doing everything it can to empower residents.”

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