AUGUSTA CO., Virginia (WHSV) – When the pandemic broke out and rent became difficult to pay, Virginia’s Rent Relief Program was there to help.
“It is a nationwide program that uses federal emergency funds to provide up to 15 months of rent reduction,” said program director Eric Johnston.
The program, says Johnston, is unique.
“Virginia had one of the few ongoing rent relief programs during the pandemic,” said Johnston.
He says the program touched many lives.
“We distributed more than $ 244.6 million for 49,000 rental and mortgage relief payments to households,” added Johnston.
Still, there is much relief to be given. “Almost a billion dollars has been given out by the federal government,” said Jonhston. “So there is a lot of help.”
He says Virginians worked together to make this program effective for both sides of the rental.
“The landlord can submit an application on behalf of the tenant. Both landlords and tenants are required to provide some details for the program, ”said Johnston.
Some may see the rent subsidy negatively, but the department is working to provide people with what they need.
“It makes both the tenant and the landlord whole. We can pay for three months as well as a total of 15 months in the future, ”he said.
As for the future of the program, Johnston says the rent reduction is going nowhere.
“It will go on because we have funds and we have enough funds for the rest of the year,” he said.
Not only will rental support be available, but the program can be expanded.
“Homeowner assistance programs will come with new federal funding in the coming months,” said Johnston.
Johnston says that the programs are only effective when people work together, and that is why they are so successful in the Commonwealth.
“Both landlord groups and tenant advocacy groups … have both worked together to encourage tenants and landlords to work together in these unprecedented times.”
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