New State Grant Program Will Help Address Evictions In Norfolk, Newport News And Hampton
A new state grant program will help fund eviction prevention and diversion services in Norfolk, Newport News and Hampton.
The funding from the Virginia Eviction Reduction Pilot Program comes as many tenants struggle to make rent due to financial hardships amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Norfolk will receive $560,000 and the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula will receive $1,050,000.
According to research by the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, Norfolk, Newport News and Hampton rank among the top 10 large cities in the country for highest eviction rates.
Hampton is third with 10.49% tenants evicted every year. Newports News is fourth at 10.23% and Norfolk is sixth at 8.65%.
Richmond, which is also receiving funds through eviction reduction program, ranks second at 11.44%
The City of Norfolk will use the money to provide rental assistance and other support to low-income families with children who are at risk of eviction.
Recipients must meet income eligibility requirements and provide proof of Norfolk residency and dependent children.
In addition to providing rental aid to tenants around Newport News and Hampton, the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula will use its funds to reduce evictions in Gloucester, James City, Matthews and York counties and the cities of Poquoson and Williamsburg.
The grant will also fund two full-time advocates, who will help the organization nagivate the services provided through the program.
Steven Kast, President and CEO of United Way of the Virginia Peninsula, said the grant money will bolster efforts to establish a community assistance network to connect people with resources and housing solutions and address the underlying causes of evictions.
"If you just give someone some rent relief (for) one month or two months and you don't address the other issues that they have, whether it's food insecurity, transportation or job security, they're just going to be in this vicious cycle," Kast said.
Peninsula residents can access the network by calling 757-229-2222.
People living Hampton Roads that don't participate in the Virginia Eviction Reduction Pilot Progam could be eligible for other forms of state rental assistance.
The Virginia Rent Relief Program is meant to help tenants across the commonwealth pay missed rent, if they've lost income due to the pandemic.