Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Play

Bill to expand tax credits draws on children's health data, Alaskans file petition opposing giant grocery merger, and a revised Colorado water plan prioritizes conservation.

Play

President Biden is set to give the State of the Union address, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy calls the national debt limit the United States' greatest threat, and Kamala Harris announces new pledges to offer more economic stability in Central America.

Play

Is bird flu, inflation or price gouging to blame for astronomical egg prices? Pregnancy can be life-changing or life-ending depending on where you live, and nine tribal schools are transforming their outdoor spaces into community gathering areas.

VA Leads Nation in Federal Rental-Assistance Distribution

Play

Wednesday, September 15, 2021   

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia has distributed a larger share of the rental funds it received than any other state in the country, and housing advocates want to see the state continue the trend with more protections for renters.

Since January, Virginia has distributed more than $300 million of its $524 million from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Christie Marra, director of housing advocacy for the Virginia Poverty Law Center, said that's due in part to Virginia being one of the first states to set up a rental assistance program in June 2020 through the CARES Act.

"Nothing helps as much as having a rental-assistance program so that when people lose their jobs, when people have an unexpected expense, they have somewhere to turn to fill the gap and to pay their rent," she said. "No change in the law is going to do that, except having this fund continue."

Virginians in need of help paying rent can determine their eligibility and apply online on the state's Department of Housing and Community Development website.

Marra and other advocates have suggested it took being "shamed" for Virginia to become a national model for rental assistance. A 2018 report from Princeton University's Eviction Lab found five of the 10 largest cities with the highest eviction rates in the country are in Virginia. Since then, the state has enacted more safeguards for renters.

Kathryn Howell, co-director of the RVA Eviction Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University, said it's a good start, but more can be done.

"Investment in counsel - and in fact, even a right to counsel - I think could be a really powerful way of making sure those tenants who have rights know how to exercise them, because it's really hard as a tenant to know all the things," she said. "They're not experts in housing law; they're not experts in understanding eviction and what rights they have."

Virginia is receiving an additional $465 million in rental assistance through the American Rescue Plan.


get more stories like this via email
According to the Eviction Lab, 838 evictions were filed in Virginia during the first week of 2023. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As many as 11% of eligible voters do not have the kind of identification that is required by states with strict ID requirements, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said a bill to require Maine voters to present photo identification in order to cast ballots is unnecessary and coul…


Social Issues

A bill to increase tax credits in the Commonwealth is backed up by research showing the credits lead to better nutrition for working families and bett…

Environment

Part of the deal Wyoming struck for sending its water down the Colorado River was that state residents would be able to tap electricity generated at G…


Advocates and activists from both the liberal and conservative sides are trying to encourage voter turnout for the upcoming state Supreme Court race, given the impact the outcome will have on the court's ideological balance. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Wisconsin's primary election is two weeks away, and a high-profile state Supreme Court race is on the ballot. Several advocacy groups are behind a …

Environment

A coalition of conservation groups is giving Colorado's revised state water plan a thumbs-up for its increased focus on protecting Colorado's rivers…

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission reported a 70% increase in reported fraud losses from consumers. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Victims of investment-related fraud in North Dakota could soon recoup some of their losses through a proposed restitution fund. A bill to establish …

Social Issues

West Virginia is among a handful of states with the highest increases in educational attainment between 2019 and 2021, according to a new report from …

Social Issues

The state's "divisive concepts" law is preventing educators from holding rational discussions about race relations in America, New Hampshire civil …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021