Successful program is helping both residents and landlords to stay current on rent and mortgage payments
RICHMOND, VA (STL.News) —Governor Ralph Northam today announced he is directing $12 million in additional funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to Virginia’s Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP), due to high demand for financial assistance. The program assists households and landlords with rent and mortgage payments to avoid eviction or foreclosure due to COVID-19.
The additional funding will enable the Department of Housing and Community Development to continue the program until it is able to transition to a Community Development Block Grant funding stream, also provided through the CARES Act. This action is a financially prudent way to maximize the value of different federal funding sources and deliver the most benefit to households across the Commonwealth.
“We created this program because people need help to stay in their homes, especially when they are dealing with job and income losses because of this public health crisis and through no fault of their own,” said Governor Northam. “We have seen high demand for the financial assistance provided through this program, which proves how much it needs to continue. A global pandemic is the worst time for Virginia families to face losing their homes, and we know that safe and stable housing is critical to helping people stay healthy as we continue to combat this virus.”
The RMRP was first launched in June with $50 million in federal CARES Act dollars to help renters and homeowners whose income has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic stay in their homes. Last month, the program also began allowing landlords to apply for payments on behalf of tenants. Families with children in the home represent the majority of households assisted by the program.
The tenant-based application process is delivered in every locality of the Commonwealth by more than 30 grantees, and the landlord-initiated application process is administered statewide by Virginia Housing. The original $50 million has been fully obligated to the tenant and landlord administrators who are processing the increasing number of applications being received from both tenants and landlords.
“Virginia families are struggling,” said Senator Ghazala Hashmi. “We can help keep families stable by helping them make rent and mortgage payments to stay in their homes and ensuring that landlords get payments they need.”
“While we are working to end the evictions crisis, we are also doing everything possible to ensure that the fallout from the pandemic does not exacerbate an already difficult situation,” said Delegate Marcia Price. “This additional funding is important so that there are no gaps in assistance for Virginia families.”
Current state and federal eviction protections through the courts do not prevent rent and mortgage payments from accumulating. The Commonwealth is focused on helping eligible households and property owners access resources to maintain housing stability during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future. Virginians are encouraged to act quickly and work with their landlord or lending institution to understand their rights and responsibilities and seek rent and mortgage relief assistance if needed.