(RICHMOND, VA) In the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, many families in Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) communities have failed to pay their rent. To assist these families and ensure that they stay in their homes, RRHA reached out to partner organizations, including the Area Congregations Together in Service (ACTS) of RVA, Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) and the City of Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building. With the assistance received to date, RRHA has been able to continue housing more than 1,100 families – over 3,200 household members.
“Many families did not know what they were going to do. Resources provided by our partners has given RRHA families much needed assistance to move forward.”Charles Williams, RRHA Director of Low-Income Public Housing
“The response has been amazing! This is truly a blessing for many of our families.”RRHA Interim CEO Stacey Daniels-Fayson
Seeing the critical need, RRHA public housing managers began reaching out to all RRHA families who had fallen behind. After sending emails and letters in November, they followed up with individual phone calls. And finally, for those who still had not responded, they walked the streets of their communities, going door to door.
“Our managers worked after their normal work hours. They came in on their days off. They walked our properties in inclement weather to try and track down persons that they knew were behind, to ensure they received the help they needed”Daniels-Fayson
RRHA has not performed any lease enforcement for non-payment since November 2019, when the Agency froze all enforcement actions related to non-payment. This moratorium made it possible for RRHA families who were behind on their rent to catch up and avoid lease enforcement action. RRHA extended the moratorium three times. When COVID hit, the moratorium was again extended, this time through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Moratoria instituted by the Centers for Disease Control as well as the Virginia General Assembly currently remain in effect.
“We are doing everything in our power to ensure that we help as many families as possible,” “And we’re thankful that these resources have been made available to assist our public housing families during this difficult time. We encourage our families to use this respite to plan and position themselves to be able to resume paying their rent as soon as possible. We know these resources are not unlimited.”Daniels-Fayson
To receive assistance, RRHA families must qualify by filling out an application indicating that the amount owed and the failure to pay is related to COVID-19, either directly or indirectly.
For families who have not received help, RRHA encourages them to reach out to their Property Manager while funding is still available.