RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Mayor Levar Stoney discussed the city’s fight against COVID-19 at a Monday afternoon press conference, including what efforts they were taking to help people stay housed during the virus outbreak.
Stoney said Richmond’s coronavirus trend was looking more positive than other areas around the nation. No citizens had died from the virus in the last two weeks.
“Your efforts are paying off as we are having a lower positivity rate. This is proof our actions can prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Stoney said.
Dr. Danny Avula, Richmond and Henrico Health Director, said the city’s cases are decreasing but not sharply — more like a plateau. He said in order to avoid a case increase like in other states, Virginians need to keep practicing social distancing and remain mindful as we reopen.
“I think the takeaway message is to move forward, but remain cautious as we move forward,” Avula said.
The mayor said the state’s eviction moratorium expired last week, but rent was still due for a lot of residents out of work because of the coronavirus. While Stoney can’t order an eviction moratorium in Richmond, he said they were going to provide direct support for residents who need it.
Stoney said the city had allocated $6 million in CARES Act funding to help with eviction diversion and rental assistance, in addition to local allocations.
Sharon Ebert, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the Department of Economic Development, said the department would be using this money to make sure everyone stays sheltered, saying to the people who are unable to pay their rent because they lost their job, there is money to help them out.
Stoney said people who need help should call 804-644-2401 to see if they are eligible for the Emergency Rent Assistance Program. He said the line is getting thousands of calls, so people should leave a message and someone from the team would be in touch as soon as possible.
“We have to be diligent, but we know we have to be urgent as well,” Stoney said.
However, if you have already been issued an unlawful detainer or eviction summons, you should visit RVAevictions.org.
WATCH: Full briefing with Stoney, Richmond officials on city’s coronavirus response