coronavirus

Alexandria Residents Protest Evictions

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Virginia residents facing eviction protested outside a general district court Wednesday.

More than 100 eviction cases were heard Wednesday in Alexandria. A majority of those families are neighbors at Southern Towers, a large apartment complex.

Southern Towers resident Sami Bourma is married with two kids and another on the way. He lost both of his jobs when the pandemic hit.

“A crisis facing the landlord, a crisis facing the pandemic and the virus, and a crisis facing the judge,” Southern Towers resident Sami Bourma said. “With no income to pay I’ll be on the street.”

He and dozens of his neighbors along with supporters protested outside the courthouse ahead of their hearings, chanting, ‘No job, no rent.”

Virginia residents who can prove financial hardship due to the pandemic can delay their cases 60 days, but those at the courthouse said that’s not enough. They want Gov. Ralph Northam to do more.

“It’s not about the 60 days,” Bourma said. “What if I get to 60 days and that expires and I still don’t have my job?”

He is also calling on Southern Towers to forgive rent during the pandemic.

Bell Partners, which manages the complex, told News4, quote, “We know this is a difficult time and have taken measures to help ease anxiety and potential financial burdens for our communities. From April through June, we offered the chance to enroll in a payment plan to any resident experiencing financial difficulty due to COVID-19. We also extended due dates for rent and waived late payment and credit card fees.”

On June 29, Northam announced a $50 million rent and mortgage relief program using money from the CARES Act. Tuesday, the governor said more than 900 families had already been approved for help through the program.

The Virginia Department of Health includes probable cases in its county-level data. For the state total NBC Washington is only including confirmed cases.

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