CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – Virginia Rent Relief Program Gate has been helping people across the Commonwealth since the start of the pandemic, but requests for help close at midnight on May 15.
“The federal government gave the states these huge sums of money to help people pay their rent. These are people who have lost income or increased their expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which unfortunately looks like huge, huge chunks of the population,” said Victoria Horrock with the Legal Aid Justice Center mentioned.
The federal government gave Virginia $1 billion in housing assistance. Now that money is almost gone.
“Based on the number of applications entering the program, they are short of funds. So they stop taking new applications on May 15,” Horrock said.
The Legal Aid Justice Center has helped submit applications, but says the pressure is mounting
“On June 30, many of the legal protections for tenants that were associated with this rental assistance also end,” Horrock said.
With those protections ending, the Legal Aid Justice Center says more people could be deported.
“We’re really concerned that this is the kind of eviction tsunami everyone is talking about,” Horrock said.
There is still help at the county and city level.
“We still have these emergency bill assistance and rental and utility bill assistance programs that will continue to receive applications and we need to proactively let the community know about this and reach out to people who may be at risk of eviction. , so they can take advantage of these programs,” said Charlottesville Councilman Michael Payne.
We still don’t know if that will be enough to make a difference.
“We need public housing assistance, and we need state money to fund affordable housing, for example, like a state voucher program. So in the long run, those are things the state could do to alleviate this problem,” Horrock said.
The LAJC offers legal advice and services to anyone facing eviction.
The LAJC Rent Assistance Helpline number is 434-326-4305. For assistance through the city or county, call 833-524-2904 or the Spanish line: 434-373-0930.
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