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Virginia launches COVID-19 rent and mortgage relief program

$50 million will provide rent and mortgage relief for households experiencing financial instability due to COVID-19.

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam launched the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) Monday morning, which will provide $50 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for households facing eviction or foreclosure due to COVID-19. 

RMRP will provide short-term financial assistance on behalf of households in the form of rent and mortgage payments.

“Expanding access to safe, affordable housing has been and will continue to be a top priority of my administration, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” Northam said. “The Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program will help Virginians experiencing financial instability as a result of this unprecedented health crisis by preventing evictions and foreclosures and keeping Virginia families safely in their homes as we battle this virus.”

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The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will administer the $50 million program through a variety of partners, including nonprofit organizations and local governments, which will receive upfront funds that they will distribute on behalf of eligible households. 

Individuals and families receiving funding will also be connected to housing counseling and receive other technical assistance.

Eligible households must demonstrate an inability to make rent or mortgage payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To ensure RMRP funding assists households most in need, the program will complete targeted outreach to communities of color across Virginia. Before the pandemic, analysis from RVA Eviction Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University found that minority communities had higher eviction rates, even after controlling for income, property value, and other characteristics. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a disproportionate impact on people of color.

“We urge all tenant advocates, landlords, lenders, philanthropy, local governments, and faith communities to partner with your local program providers to ensure that these funds stretch as far as possible to Virginians most in need of this assistance," DHCD Director Erik Johnston said.

The program will also give precedence to households without other federal and state eviction or foreclosure protections. 

To identify the local RMRP administering organization for a household and to conduct a self-assessment for eligibility, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility or call 211 VIRGINIA by dialing 2-1-1 from your phone. 

Tenants and homeowners are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent and mortgages on time if they are able. 

Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for additional information and resources.

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