ROANOKE, Va. – Thousands of Virginians could be facing eviction soon. That’s because the federal moratorium ends Saturday, July 31.
It’s been extended multiple times throughout the pandemic. Now, the concern is what people will do if they can’t keep up with or pay back their rent.
Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s vice president of housing operations, Evangeline Richie, told 10 News it is their goal to minimize evictions and homelessness. The moratorium ending is no exception.
They are doing everything they can to get the word out to their public housing residents who may be struggling to pay their rent due to the pandemic to apply for Virginia’s Rent Relief Program.
The program gives financial assistance to qualifying landlords for past-due rent payments.
With the help of funding from the city, RRHA is partnering with Total Action for Progress (TAP) to do on-site rent relief application and intake clinics starting Friday, July 30 and going into the following week. Those clinics are only for housing authority residents.
Richie said while there is time to seek relief, there’s no reason to wait until the last minute.
“People want to get in as soon as possible because some of these programs do have an amount of funding that’s available, so the sooner you get in and submit your application you want to make sure you’re able to seek those funds that are available,” said Richie.
The RRHA does not have an exact number of people in their public housing who could be evicted when the moratorium expires because so many of them are submitting applications for the rent relief program.
Even so, people aren’t just put out, the RRHA goes through a court process before they can execute an eviction.
RRHA and TAP aren’t the only ones working to help people avoid eviction.
Virginia Legal Aid Society has a toll-free phone number for tenants and landlords who need help navigating rent relief and an application for the program. They’ve specifically hired staff to answer your questions. The number is 866-995-5595.
Jeremy White, managing attorney at VLA’s Lynchburg Office, said losing your job due to the pandemic isn’t the only way you can be eligible for rent relief.
“The landlords that are larger, five or more units that they are renting out, do have to offer a payment plan to tenants so they have to get a 14-day notice of the amount they know and they have to be offered a payment plan. We’re hoping again that that provides a space and time for tenants to get connected to the RRP rent relief program money and get the money in the landlord’s hands,” said White.
The rent relief clinics for RRHA families are:
- Friday, July 30-Lansdowne Park, Room 207
- Monday, August 2, Melrose Towers, Community Room
- Tuesday, August 3, Villages at Lincoln, Community Room
- Wednesday, August 4, Jamestown Place, Community Room
Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.