Earlier this month, Governor Glenn Youngkin’s office announced the distribution of $2.9 million in grants across Virginia for programs to help keep people from being evicted from their homes. That includes an additional $275,000 for the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission for another year of work. (view the TJPDC Eviction Reduction Pilot grant page)
“Funding will support an Eviction Case Management Program at the newly created Financial Opportunity Center / Housing Hub as well as the creation of an eviction prevention case manager position, a second landlord navigator position and an additional court navigator position,” reads the press release.
This is the third round of funding for TJPDC for this program, which dates back to legislation in the special session of the 2020 General Assembly that directed the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to create a program to assist people in the immediate wake of the economic downtown associated with the beginning of the pandemic. The TJPDC won one grant to write up a local pilot.
“The purpose of this pilot program is to create a local/regional coordinated systems approach to effectively prevent evictions,” reads the TJPDC’s website. “When evictions cannot be prevented, the system must also include how to divert evictions once the household has received an unlawful detainer.”
The idea is to help people who are in danger of being evicted to get assistance early in the process.
A second grant of $250,000 to the TJPDC allowed the Piedmont Housing Alliance to hire two new positions for their Financial Opportunity Center who would directly work with landlords. Other funding would go to direct financial assistance to “qualified community members.”
Here’s how the funding broke down according to Ian Baxter, a planner with the TJPDC:
- $132,081.91 was allocated for direct financial assistance, including rent arrears, moving costs, and utilities. Of this amount, $26,618 assisted with back rent for some tenants of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
- $16,198.92 was allocated for stabilization services, including childcare and transportation costs
- $79,623.89 staffed an eviction prevention case manager and landlord mediation position at Piedmont Housing Alliance’s Financial Opportunity Center and Housing Hub
- $9,595.28 was spent on outreach materials and activities
- $12,500 was allocated to the TJPDC for administration of the grant
Baxter said the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development is working on a report on how the program has fared statewide.
“The new funding covers existing positions and financial assistance, but also provides funding for PHA to hire new court navigation positions, who will work to provide information to individuals who are imminently at risk of eviction through outreach, canvassing, and sharing resources,” Baxter wrote.
The TJPDC’s award was one of nine across Virginia and the only one in the Fifth District. Learn more about the others on the DHCD website.
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