RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Tuesday that Virginia has received $524 million dollars in federal assistance to help with housing, and the state will immediately put $160 million into the Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP).
The governor’s office said the RRP is funded through the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program, which is included in the recent federal stimulus package.
Under the new federal funding, Northam said renters will be able to get help with rent going all the way back to last April and up to three months into the future, for a total of 15 months of assistance.
Northam said Virginia has an eviction crisis, and the pandemic only exacerbated the issue. He said it was the government’s job to make sure people have safe and affordable housing.
“The pandemic has not been easy on anyone, but it has been devastating for people trying to keep a roof over their head,” Northam said.
He said the RRP will continue to operate with a racial equity lenses, because the pandemic has impacted communities of color the most.
One change to the RRP is it will no longer assist homeowners with their mortgages. However, Northam said a majority of the applications for the program have been submitted by renters and landlords.
The state has added $85 million into its housing trust fund during this budget cycle. However, Northam said he has proposed increasing that to $125 million. The governor said he is working with the house and senate’s budget division to determine a final amount.
You can find more information about RRP and other measures put in place to help renters and homeowners online here.
You can watch the press conference below: