RICHMOND, Va. — On the same day Virginia's pandemic "rent freeze" ended, Governor Ralph Northam implemented a new program to help residents who were economically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic stay in their homes.
The new Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) uses CARES Act money ($50 million of it) to protect eligible Virginians from eviction and foreclosure.
Virginia's Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Brian Ball, said in a release that this program was critical for maintaining public health.
"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," Ball wrote.
The release said this money would be applied to people in need through local governments and nonprofit partners.
To be eligible for RMRP assistance, Virginians:
- must show that their inability to pay rent/mortgage is directly because of the pandemic,
- must have a rent/mortgage at or below 150% of Fair Market Rent,
- and must have a gross household income at or below 80% of Area Median Income.
People can still be eligible if they have other eviction or foreclosure protections, but the governor's office said RMRP priority would go to Virginians that don't otherwise have a housing safety net.
"From June 29 to July 20, priority will be given to households with current gross incomes equal to or below 50 percent of AMI," a spokesperson wrote. "After July 20, households with current gross incomes at or below 80 percent of AMI will be also be included."
The release said the program would work to implement "targeted outreach to communities of color," who were disproportionately subject to evictions and foreclosures according to a study by Virginia Commonwealth University.
Click here to visit Virginia's housing resource website.