RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney is calling on Governor Ralph Northam to issue a statewide moratorium on residential evictions until the coronavirus pandemic is over.
“Considering the long-reaching consequences of mass evictions, which now include increased risks to not only the health and well-being of those evicted but also to those with whom they come into contact, a temporary pause on evictions is necessary,” Stoney wrote in a letter to Northam. “It is particularly essential to pause evictions in the City of Richmond, where thousands of residents have been served summons to go to court in June and July for eviction cases.”
The mayor said that Richmond has been one of the hardest-hit areas in the state with higher COVID-19 cases per 100,000 than surrounding counties.
Stoney said the city has a staggering amount of eviction cases scheduled to be heard in the Richmond General District Court beginning in mid-June.
He said there are a total of 1,124 cases between June 15 and June 26 alone.
Stoney said the city has funded an Eviction Diversion Program, however, he expects the significant increase in eviction cases will overwhelm the program and the city’s ability to support qualified families facing eviction.
I request @GovernorVA issue an eviction moratorium until the end of this public health crisis. We are working with @VPLC and advocating for federal rent support. I am also meeting today with the Richmond Eviction Task Force to support our residents. #1RVA #RVAStrong pic.twitter.com/PoIXUZ8sam— Levar M. Stoney (@LevarStoney) June 8, 2020
“I appreciate the important steps your administration has already taken to protect tenants from eviction during this pandemic. The right to continue eviction cases for sixty days and the new limitation on late fees are sources of needed relief,” the mayor wrote. “I urge you to do even more to allow Virginians financially hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic to stay safe and secure in their homes.”
Stoney said he is urging the governor to issue a statewide eviction moratorium, or a moratorium on evictions in the City of Richmond, until there is funding from the federal government to prevent evictions and provide emergency housing when needed.