RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Ralph Northam is calling on Chief Circuit Court judges around the state to extend an eviction moratorium as appropriate in their locality.
"Virginians are facing a number of difficulties, but having a safe and stable place to call home shouldn't be one of them," said Northam.
The announcement comes as the governor's statewide moratorium on residential evictions expires on June 28.
Additionally, Northam announced he has directed the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to create the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program, using $50 million in federal CARES Act funding.
"The program will help cover rent and mortgage payments on behalf of households who are experiencing financial instability due to the pandemic," said Northam.
The governor says the program will target outreach to communities of color as the coronavirus pandemic is having a disproportionate health and financial impact on those communities.
"Our priority is to prevent evictions, and help get Virginians back on track with their rent and mortgage payments," said Northam.
More information about the program will be released once it launches on Monday, June 29.
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus (VLBC) released a statement calling the program a "significant first step in the right direction" to provide much-needed relief to Virginians.
"This program will serve as needed infrastructure to help supplement ongoing eviction and housing relief efforts and serve as a catalyst for additional efforts that must occur to tackle these evolving issues," the VLBC wrote.
The group also called on Chief Judges in each circuit to extend the eviction moratorium in their locality and refrain from acting on pending eviction proceedings.
"We request that every judicial circuit institute a local eviction moratorium to keep people in their homes—especially during a global pandemic," the statement continued.
“The Governor and his Administration assured us that they would focus on providing financial relief,” said VLBC Chairman Lamont Bagby (D-74th, Henrico). “Together, we look forward to doing more to address underlying systemic issues related to housing and doing more to help provide relief.”