New state program to provide rent, mortgage relief
Northam directs $50M in federal funding toward housing relief during pandemic
Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday the launch of a $50 million state program to provide relief for people facing eviction or foreclosure due to the pandemic.
Federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is being directed to the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP).
“Expanding access to safe, affordable housing has been and will continue to be a top priority of my administration, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” Northam said in a statement. “The [program] will help Virginians experiencing financial instability as a result of this unprecedented health crisis by preventing evictions and foreclosures and keeping Virginia families safely in their homes as we battle this virus.”
The goal of the program is to provide short-term financial assistance in the form of rent and mortgage payments. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will administer the program through nonprofit organizations and local governments to distribute funding to eligible households.
Outreach for the program is being targeted at communities of color due to findings from the RVA Eviction Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University, which suggest that minority communities face higher eviction rates. Precedence is also given to those without federal or state eviction or foreclosure protections.
“Safe, stable housing is essential for public health,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said in a statement. “As we continue to secure funding for rent and mortgage assistance, this $50 million investment will serve the most vulnerable Virginians while providing a roadmap for future relief.”
In order to receive funding, households have to demonstrate an inability to make rent or mortgage payments due to the pandemic. Monthly payments must be at or below 150% Fair Market Rent and households must have gross annual income at or below 80% of area median income. Those receiving funding will be connected to housing counseling and technical assistance. Households seeking funding can assess eligibility through DHCD.