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Kaine: Virginia Leads in Rent Relief Allocations

Tim Kaine addresses the Virginia Housing Commission on July 27, 2021.
Jahd Khalil
Radio IQ

Virginia’s rent relief program has allocated more of its federal rent relief funds than any other state, Senator Tim Kaine told the Virginia Housing Commission Tuesday.

“Virginia is number two in the nation, out of 50 states, in the amount of the federal rental relief it has allocated to renters. And you're number one out of 50 states ... in the percentage of the dollars that Virginia has received, that's that have been allocated to renters,” he said. 

Kaine’s staff said the numbers came from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program’s June compliance report.

Virginia has spent $312 million on rent relief for landlords and tenants and has received $525 million in Federal Emergency Rental Assistance, Pam Kestner of Department of Housing and Community Development told the commission.

“We are approaching assisting 50,000 households - unique households - here in the Commonwealth and have dispersed, since July of last year, nearly $312 million.”

Kestner said the average payment to a household is $6,167.

Despite all this money ready to be used, many vulnerable renters are still at risk. Martin Wegbreit, the litigation director for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, said he is concerned that since the CDC’s eviction protections expire at the end of this month landlords can start eviction proceedings.

“The other thing is, is that the rent relief, although it's extremely valuable, has a shelf life of 15 months,” he said. According to Wegbreit, those who applied for relief for their April rent payments ran out their 15 months in June if they have continued to apply each month since then. 

Congress appropriated new money in March that could cover three more months of rent.

The Department of Housing and Community Development encourages people to apply if they’re having trouble paying rent. You can find the application here.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Jahd Khalil is a reporter and producer in Richmond.
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