Albemarle County announces eviction prevention partnership effort

albemarle countyAlbemarle County is partnering with the Legal Aid Justice Center to support eviction prevention efforts for Albemarle County residents who face eviction due to loss of income tied to COVID-19.

During a pilot period that ran December 2021 through May 2022, the EPP prevented 158 evictions.

The formal program will run through June 2023.

“Many rent-relief programs are phasing out, yet there remain many Albemarle families still deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Supervisor Donna Price, chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. “Low-income households have not recovered as quickly, and programs such as this provide additional stability for households continuing to face financial hardships, using federal relief dollars to fund legal services and to provide wrap-around support.

The EPP funds total $200,000, using a portion of Albemarle County’s allocation of American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. The Legal Aid Justice Center provides counsel on a contract basis for renters facing eviction due to the loss of income or an increase in expenses.

The program requires consideration for the impacts of contesting evictions on landlords who own less than three units and prioritizes mitigation efforts to secure outstanding funds for landlords while keeping families housed. Program participants must meet certain low-income criteria and utilize rent-relief funds to settle outstanding rental debts.

“The purpose of the Eviction Prevention Partnership is to avoid eviction, assist individuals in securing rent-relief for outstanding rent, and ultimately allow families to maintain their current safe, affordable housing,” Albemarle County Housing Program Manager Philip Holbrook said. “Our office sees daily the importance of keeping families in their homes and is working to address eviction prevention at all levels, from last-chance mediation through this contract with LAJC to preventative and educational opportunities to curb issues before they escalate to evictions.”

Eviction prevention is just one way to keep families in their homes. Albemarle County has provided mortgage and rental assistance through a partnership with United Way of Greater Charlottesville and the City of Charlottesville since July 2021. The program has since assisted local households through the distribution of $836,479.

This program remains available to income-eligible households and can be accessed by calling 434-326-0950.


AFP

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