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No decision made during city council meeting with RRHA; evictions set to resume

Agency asked to report back in a few weeks
Monday The Richmond City council members met with the RRHA to weigh into the issue of public...
Monday The Richmond City council members met with the RRHA to weigh into the issue of public housing evictions.(Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority)
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 1:43 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 7:24 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - During a Richmond City Council meeting Monday, the Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority, or RRHA, said it had no choice but to restart evictions.

Last month, the public housing agency sent letters to families in the city owing more than $1,000, notifying them that the lease enforcement moratorium was ending.

During the meeting, RRHA showed a presentation explaining its lease enforcement criteria.

ENFORCING THE LEASE

  • Unlawful Detainer: The earliest possible date that RRHA can file an unlawful detainer for nonpayment is early to mid-February (30 calendar days from the date of the termination notice).
  • Court Hearing: Once filed, the court will likely not hear the case until some time in mid to late March; the case could also be continued for several more months.
  • Order of Possession: If the Court grants RRHA an order of possession, it will be at least another 15 days before the Sheriff executes that order.
  • Still Able to Pay: Throughout this process, RRHA families will still be able to pay their balance, which will stop the lease enforcement process and keep them housed.

The RRHA says rent is due at the first of each month and is considered late after eight days, at which point the fees are added to unpaid balances. The agency says the 30-day termination notices were sent as early as Sunday, Jan. 11.

According to the RRHA, it’s estimated that there are over 2,500 households behind on rent, and more than 1,000 families could be displaced.

But some members of the community are demanding another moratorium. Many educators in the city fear the long-term impact this could have on school-aged children already dealing with education during the pandemic.

Recently, community members helped launch a Change.org petition to block evictions of Richmond Public School students. Currently, the petition has more than 700 signatures.

Last year, RRHA launched an outreach program called ‘Come Current,’ which consisted of going door-to-door and speaking with families who are currently behind on rent.

The RHHA says the goal is to work with as many households as possible on an individual basis to prevent families from being displaced. They say no one will be kicked out for owing less than $50.

After the presentation, no decision was made by city council on stopping evictions from taking place. The council asked for RRHA to report back in a few weeks to discuss how it could potentially work with the agency on solutions that would keep more families in their homes.

“I believe we need a more definitive solution by the Administration and a commitment from RRHA that families won’t be displaced,” said 9th District City Councilman Mike Jones.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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