Statewide eviction moratorium to end Monday
A statewide moratorium on evictions is set to expire Monday, affecting thousands of households in Hampton Roads alone.
However, organizations like ForKids are ready to help with their resources, including new streams of money connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The great news is there are so many new resources available,” ForKids Chief Executive Officer Thaler McCormick said. “The challenge is getting households connected quickly. There are numerous and varying eligibility requirements depending on where you live and your personal economic situation.”
The moratorium was established to help Virginians deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic without losing their homes. However, the state Supreme Court did not extend the moratorium, which is set to expire Monday.
In a Thursday press conference, Gov. Ralph Northam urged local Circuit Court judges to declare a moratorium in their own localities. Suffolk Circuit Court Clerk Randy Carter said Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Carl E. Eason Jr. was not available. The Fifth Circuit includes Suffolk, Franklin, and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.
McCormick said ForKids is able to help folks across the region with $450,000 in CARES Act funding as well as dollars from individual cities that are earmarked to assist residents of that city.
“Our team is in constant communication with all of the different funding groups and local sources,” McCormick said.
She said the hotline had experienced an incredibly high call volume throughout the pandemic and was starting to ramp up again on Friday in anticipation of the end of the moratorium.
“We were at 300 calls a couple hours ago,” McCormick said at 3 p.m. A typical Friday might see 100 to 150 calls.
“We’ve had increasing requests for assistance over the last few years, so even before the COVID-19 crisis we were really struggling,” McCormick said. “The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated an existing, big problem.”
McCormick said anyone in need of rent or mortgage assistance as a result of the pandemic should call the Housing Crisis Hotline at 757-587-4202. This hotline serves 14 cities and counties in Hampton Roads and assesses each caller’s situation to match them to programs for which they may be eligible.
She urged callers to be patient when calling, as an extremely high call volume is expected.
“It’s going to be significant,” she said. “We’re going to see hundreds from Suffolk and Western Tidewater, I have no doubt. What’s incredibly important is that this new money is starting to flow and can assist people with current and some back rent as well.”
Folks who don’t need this assistance can help others by making a donation on forkids.org. A stream of private dollars will help the organization help people who don’t meet all of the qualifications for government funding, McCormick said. Things like food drives and cleaning supply drives are also helpful.