Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday 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 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.
“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,” Northam said in a statement. “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.
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.
To submit a landlord-initiated application, visit virginiahousing.com/RMRP. Tenants interested in applying should visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility to conduct a self-assessment for eligibility or call 211 VIRGINIA by dialing 2-1-1 from your phone. Additional information and resources are available at StayHomeVirginia.com.