RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Northam announced help is on the way for people who are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage as a result of the pandemic. $50 million in federal funding will be made available to assist Virginians. This as judges are set to resume eviction hearings next week.
Northam acknowledged Virginia has some of the highest eviction rates in the country and that too many families are one paycheck away from being on the street.
“It’s to a point where it’s we’re doubling the loads with kids home all day eating,” Marilyn Olds with the Richmond Tenant’s Association said.
She hears the stories every day.
“It gets to the point of ‘do we pay rent or do we eat good today, or will we eat the rest of the week or the rest of the month, or pay the rent?’” she explained.
Olds heads the Richmond Tenant’s Association, a group she’s worked with for well over a decade. She sees how the coronavirus is impacting people struggling to pay the rent or the mortgage.
“A lot of folks were laid off. The unemployment helps a little but…if you’re at home all day, [with] the air conditioner running keeping the children cool in the summertime and showers and water constantly, it’s an overflow of everything being excessive at this point,” she explained.
It’s a point not lost on the Governor. “Virginians are facing a number of difficulties, but having a safe and stable place to call home shouldn’t be one of them,” Gov. Northam said.
Thursday, he announced a Rent and Mortgage Relief Program. $50 million under the federal CARES Act will help Virginias make those payments.
“People who did all the right things, who worked and were able to pay their rent and their bills have found themselves out of work and also out of money,” he explained.
Olds is glad to see the state paying attention.
“Something to help them till they get back or until this economy bounces back…We need this funding. We need that help all over,” she said.
The details of how to apply for the program will be made available Monday.
The governor also asked Circuit Court judges to extend the eviction moratorium, which is set to expire on June 28.
“I urge all landlords and lenders to partner with the state on this effort so that we can help families get current on their rental and mortgage payments,” Northam said. “Our priority is to prevent evictions and to get Virginians back on track.”
In a separate program, families in need can also apply for energy or cooling assistance with the state. More information is available, here.
Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.