City Hall will inject an additional $8 million into a rent and mortgage assistance program to help hundreds of struggling families in Richmond avoid eviction.
Richmond City Council was notified last week of a decision to use much of a new $20.1 million allocation in federal CARES Act funds to expand housing assistance.
According to Mayor Levar M. Stoney’s administration, the city has already invested $7.25 million from the first round of CARES Act funding in emergency shelter and rental assistance.
In total, the city received $40.2 million in CARES Act funds in two allocations, with a total of $15.25 million, or 38%, going towards meeting housing needs.
The additional funding for eviction assistance comes as the Virginia Supreme Court’s latest order ending evictions is set to expire. The temporary order allows writs of eviction to be issued and enforced again on Tuesday, September 8.
Courts are still hearing lawsuits from landlords seeking possession of units where families have been unable to pay rent. An estimated 1,900 Richmond families have received subpoenas for non-payment of rent.
Most of the additional $8 million in new housing assistance will apparently go to ACTS RVA, a nonprofit faith-based organization representing 60 area congregations, the administration told city council.
Richmond previously provided $6 million to ACTS (Area Congregations Together in Service) to piggyback on a state stipend to the group to expand its rent and mortgage relief efforts.
The administration did not report to the city council the number of families assisted in the first round of funding or provide information on the performance of ACTS RVA.
Housing is one of 17 categories for which the money has been allocated.
However, the listing shows that City Hall is not investing any additional CARES Act funds to support homeless housing beyond the previously allocated $1.25 million.
Also conspicuously absent is the $3 million the mayor has promised to allocate to help nonprofits run child care programs in city schools if the school board opens them.
The list of where the money has been or will be spent includes $3.9 million for small business grant programs, $100,000 to allow the Richmond City Health District to hire people to trace the contacts of people infected with COVID-19 and nearly $5 million to purchase masks and hand sanitizer and pay for disinfection and sanitation of city buildings.
Another $5.9 million is being spent on running unspecified government services affected by the virus. In addition, $1.1 million is being used to improve public and internal access to city government computerized information, and another $1.3 million is being spent to modify buildings to meet Federal Department standards. work.
The city also used some of the money to provide $1,000 bonuses to non-exempt essential employees.
The Stoney administration has not released details on how many employees received the bonuses, or which departments were authorized to pay them.