Microblog #SE5: Demand Soars for New Assistance Program

Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program serves 100 families a day over its first week

333 Words

The federal CARES Act included flexible dollars for states to use in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with numerous other states, Virginia reserved a significant portion ($50 million) of these funds for rent and mortgage assistance available to families experiencing economic hardships. Beginning June 29, the state opened applications to its Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP).

Funds are distributed by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and locally allocated by over two dozen community organizations across the state, who handle applications and deliver assistance. The program will cover rent or mortgage payments past due from April 1 and forward.

Currently, to be eligible, households must earn below 50% of the area median income (AMI) and demonstrate inability to make full housing payments due to COVID-19. Later in July, eligibility will expand to serve households up to 80% AMI.

DHCD recently provided an update on the program’s first nine days of operation. Results of note include:

  • Local RMRP grantees collectively served over 900 households, or 100 per day.
  • About one-third of those households have already had their payments processed.
  • 2-1-1 VIRGINIA has successfully fielded over a thousand calls for housing assistance and directed those families to local RMRP grantees to begin applications.
  • Rental assistance is in higher demand than mortgage assistance due to the statewide eviction moratorium expiring while federal foreclosure moratoriums remain in place for now.
  • The time from initial contact to payments processed may take 5 to 14 business days, including the application, provision of supporting documents, and communication with landlords and mortgage companies.

Local organizations administering RMRP funds are required to submit biweekly reports on the number and demographics of households served. DHCD and HousingForward Virginia will provide updates as they are made available.

To read more about the program, review eligibility requirements, and find local RMRP program administrators, visit the DHCD Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program website. To learn about how COVID-19 has been affecting housing in Virginia, check out our COVID-19 Resources toolkit.

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