RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority is asking several families to catch up on their rent or face eviction, a group of faith leaders met with RRHA Friday morning on behalf of those families to explore ways from having them forced out.
The group of community leaders and pastors say no one should be on the street for the holiday season, but RRHA insists they’re just doing their job offering affordable housing, not free housing.
On Sep. 27, RRHA went to Richmond General District Court and asked to start the judgment and possession of 52 homes.
Since Oct. 22, 17 of those residents had paid off their balance to RHAA, leaving 35 more left to pay. As of Friday’s meeting, 10 more residents had paid their balance, leaving 25 people with an outstanding balance to the apartment complex and facing eviction.
RHAA CEO Damon Duncan said previous reports of 52 people already being evicted is ‘not accurate, adding that ‘we go above and beyond to keep people housed.’
But some of the community leaders who met with RRHA Friday morning aren’t convinced.
“I don’t feel any better about that meeting from when I left there from when I went in,” Bernice Travers, President of Richmond Crusade of Voters, said. “These are our people. We’re going to make sure they have homes. It’s near Christmas and Thanksgiving, we don’t want to see anyone homeless.”
The families that have not paid have until late November or early December to catch up on their rent before facing possible eviction.
The group advocating on their behalf hopes it doesn’t come to that.
“If there is the possibility for RHAA to forgive part of the dues they are owed, we want to make sure people get a fair share at life in Richmond city,” Rev. Marcus Martin said.
Dr. Emanuel Harris, President of the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Richmond, added, “We have all kinds of issues. Just putting people on the streets is not going to solve anything.”
The City of Richmond currently ranks No. 2 in the country for high eviction rates.
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