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Northam announces new housing assistance program

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that his administration is putting an initial $50 million in federal coronavirus-relief funds toward housing assistance.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia is launching a new program to help people struggling to pay their rent or mortgages amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday at a Capitol news conference that his administration is putting an initial $50 million in federal coronavirus-relief funds toward housing assistance. 

Starting next week, Virginians whose ability to cover housing costs has been hurt by the pandemic can apply for financial assistance. He said the state will target outreach to communities of color, which he said have been disproportionately hurt by the virus. 

Some of those funds will be going to organizations across Virginia and in Hampton Roads. 

This includes the Samaritan House, an organization that helps domestic violence survivors and homeless find resources to get back on their feet.

"But our current families have expressed quite a few concerns about what might happen. I think some reassurance from their landlords is incredibly helpful," said Program Director Lashonda Carson.  

The For Kids program is also getting some funds too. CEO Thaler McCormick expressed hundreds of families have called their regional housing crisis hotline. 

“And the hotline has been seeing roughly 300 calls a day even with the moratorium in place," said McCormick. 

For Kids services 14 cities across the region. 

"The great news is that there's going to be funding available here to help people pay with their back rent. The not-so-great news it's going to be in a lot of different pieces and parts depending on where you live in the region, what your income level is, were you COVID-19 impacted."

McCormick mentioned that the new federally funded state program will allow more people with a higher income to get housing assistance.   

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