Thanks to new federal funding, more assistance is available for Virginians who are struggling to pay rent during the pandemic, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday.
The commonwealth received $524 million in federal funds for its Rental Relief Program (RRP), Northam said at a press conference with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
Virginia is putting $160 million into the RRP immediately while the remainder of the funding will be made available based upon need, the Office of the Governor wrote in a statement.
The funding will give Virginians access to rent assistance for a longer period of time. Eligible tenants can now qualify for rent assistance going back to last April in addition to up to three months of assistance in the future.
Those seeking assistance with paying for mortgages will not be eligible for this new funding. The state is also no longer accepting applications for those needing mortgage relief, he said.
"By far, the majority of our applications have been for rental assistance, and we'll look to other federal programs to assist folks with their mortgages," Northam said.
The RRP will operate with a racial equity lens, the governor said.
"We know the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate health and financial impact on persons of color," he said. "The RRP will work to ensure this funding assists households most in need by targeting outreach to communities of color and providing assistance for communities for which English is a second language."
Virginia tenants interested in applying can check their eligibility by completing the self-assessment at dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility or by dialing 2-1-1 from their phones.