Spotlight on Richmond’s eviction issues, trends dropping but still a concern for Legal Aid Justice Center

Published: Sep. 25, 2021 at 10:24 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2021 at 2:32 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond’s eviction issues appear to be easing a little, but it’s still a major concern.

It could be because of new laws passed, and changes made by the governor during the pandemic. But it’s also due to the work on the ground by places like the Legal Aid Justice Center.

“We help to keep residents informed in the change in the landscape of legislation and tenant protections that are available,” Omari Al-Qadaffi, Legal Aid Justice Center Housing Organizer, said.

Al-Qadaffi is a housing organizer with the Legal Aid Justice Center. It’s his mission to help keep families facing evictions from being booted to the streets.

Looking at the raw data, eviction filings by week in Richmond are heading back down. But still, Legal Aid says 494 people faced eviction in Henrico County and Richmond over the last two weeks.

“There’s been like increasing amounts of legislation that have kinda, there needs to be some change at the general assembly level because the laws are pretty much very stacked against tenants,” Al-Qadaffi said.

Aside from a now-expired moratorium on evictions, the state also implemented protections for tenants applying for rental assistance and required certain larger landlords to offer payment plans to tenants before taking action to evict them.

But Al-Qadaffi believes more can be done on this front. He’s also being honored by the National Housing Law Project for his efforts.

“Any time I’m able to help an individual to get safe and healthy housing for their family or just to give them the information they need to stop an illegal action that’s happening for them, those are big moments for me,” Al-Qadaffi said.

Just recently, Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority extended its eviction moratorium through the end of this year.

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