Gov. Ralph Northam

Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday that the state will use federal money to help Virginia residents pay their rent and mortgage as they deal with the economic fallout of COVID-19.

A total of $50 million for the state’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds will go to the new program, which the state is launching Monday. A statewide moratorium on evictions lifts the same day.

“We don’t anybody getting evicted at any time, but especially not at this difficult time,” Northam said.

A ban on evictions instituted by the Virginia Supreme Court in March and extended earlier this month expires Monday, putting thousands of families in the state, including nearly 2,000 in Richmond, at risk of eviction.

Northam is asking local circuit courts to institute their own bans on evictions with the statewide prohibition ending soon. He did not ask the state's high court for another extension, he said.

“While this program is a good first step towards giving Virginians the relief they desperately need, this effort does not address that courts will resume the eviction process on June 29th, which leaves thousands of Virginians vulnerable to homelessness, and it is likely that many people will be evicted before the rent and mortgage relief program is fully up and running,” New Virginia Majority, a statewide advocacy organization, said in a statement in response to the governor’s announcement.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced earlier this month that the city will spend $6 million in CARES Act funding to fund an eviction diversion program and provide rental assistance to residents.

(This is a developing story. It will be updated.)


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