Residents of Southwood Mobile Home Park were among community members in the area who received assistance of more than $1.6 million in locally distributed emergency rent and mortgage relief in 2020.
In mid-2020, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s Emergency Rental and Mortgage Program began distributing CARES Act funding, and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission was selected to administer the program locally.
The program has since changed, and statewide tenants or landlords seeking funds now apply directly through DEVAL LLC or Virginia Housing, which are under contract with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
According to the state, mortgage relief funding has been spent and these relief requests are no longer being accepted, but there may be funding in the future to help with mortgage payments.
TJPDC worked with United Way of Greater Charlottesville, City of Charlottesville, Monticello Area Community Action Agency, and Nelson County Community Development Foundation on hospitality staff support.
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Southwood property manager Kelly Molina said she and another staff member worked with TJPDC and United Way to streamline the process for residents to make it accessible to anyone who needed help.
“We had huge success with that,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of people in our community asking for it, and a good majority of them got the help they needed to pay the rent, because it was between paying the rent, doing the groceries or pay the electric bill.”
Southwood residents were able to get a total of $35,550 to cover their rent, Molina said.
Initially, funding was on a per capita basis, so TJPDC could ensure that all localities had proportionate access to funding, said Christine Jacobs, TJPDC’s chief operating officer and housing director.
“As the program began to wind down over the past 60-75 days at the request of DHCD, we then picked the one that needed it the most to make sure we weren’t leaving money on the table” , she said.
Around 570 households received assistance, with 753 rent payments and 16 mortgage payments made.
To be eligible, a household had to have suffered a negative financial impact due to the pandemic. Households also had to have a gross income equal to or less than 80% of the region’s median income and a rent equal to or less than 150% of fair market rent. Currently, the household AMI is $93,900 and the fair market rent is $1,623 for a one-bedroom unit, going up to $2,913 for a four-bedroom unit, according to the U.S. Department of Housing. housing and urban development.
According to information provided by TJPDC, just over $1 million was used by households at 30% or less of the AMI, or locally $19,750 for an individual and $28,150 for a family of four. . Nearly $500,000 was used by households between 31% and 50% of the AMI, or locally $32,900 for an individual and $46,950 for a family of four.
The average amount of relief per household application was $2,112.
Figures presented by the local United Way showed that 60% of individual payments in Albemarle and Charlottesville were sought by black households.
“We all had different kinds of stories — sometimes someone rented a room, sometimes they couldn’t get a rental contract and we were unable to help them. But we had families who were literally ready to be evicted, knocking on our door asking for help,” said Ravi Respeto, president and CEO of the local United Way.
Funding for the program’s second phase is initially just a statewide pot, DHCD spokeswoman Amanda Love said, and comes from Virginia’s housing trust funds.
“But that’s going to change with the new stimulus money,” she said. “Some of the eligible communities across the state have the ability to get their own allocation and run their own rent relief program with the stimulus funds.”
Love said the department shares data with localities if requested.
Molina said that with the move to the state, it was more complicated because they were asking for forms that residents didn’t have. She said some residents applied on their own and the funding came through.
“We’re still trying to figure it out…and then we’ll continue to do what we used to do and advertise it, attract people who are late or haven’t been able to fully return to work and help them apply for again,” she said.
Through mid-January, an additional $490,000 had gone to help residents of TJPDC locations since the program changed, according to state data.
For more information, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/rmrp.
In Albemarle, residents in need can still apply for separate funding through the county for rent/mortgage assistance, utility payments, groceries, prescriptions and child care.
For more information or for assistance, Albemarle residents can call the Emergency Fund Hotline voicemail at (434) 326-0950, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, or in Spanish at (434) 373-0930, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: 30 hours weekdays. Other languages are available on request.
In a press release, Albemarle said calls to the hotline’s voicemail would be returned within 48 hours.
RMRP distributed by jurisdiction
Location Amount Unique households served Total number of payments
Albemarle County $809,418 309,407
Charlottesville $282,809 108,159
Fluvanna County $99,079 30 37
Greene County $113,966 36 54
Louisa County $262,482 70 88
Nelson County $56,599 17 24
RMRP distributed by jurisdiction
|locality||Quantity||Unique households served||Total number of payments|