Chesterfield County’s rent relief program will not accept any new applications from families facing eviction unless the county receives additional federal funding.
The county received $18.8 million from the federal government to help families who have fallen behind on rent and utility payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pending applications submitted through its nonprofit partner, Area Congregations Together in Service , will exhaust the remainder of that sum, according to a news release issued Tuesday.
“The nonprofit cannot accept additional requests for assistance at this time because submitted applications already exceed available resources,” according to the county news release.
Along with Fairfax, Chesterfield was one of two localities in the state to apply for federal rent relief funds for its own locally administered program. Because the county received its own pot of federal funding, county residents cannot apply for rent relief through a state-run program that tenants in Richmond, Henrico and elsewhere around the state have been able to use.
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The state program, run by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, has distributed more than $500 million statewide since June 2020.
The county program, launched in February, has provided an average of $5,210 in rent and $695 in utility payments to 2,201 households, according to the release. About 3 out of 5 households assisted have children under the age of 18.
Dan Cohen, Chesterfield’s director of community enhancement, said there was a surge in new applications when the federal eviction moratorium ended in August.
The number of eviction cases filed between July and the end of September rose 51% when compared with the previous three months, according to data made available by the RVA Eviction Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University. Another 265 evictions cases were pending in Chesterfield when the lab’s most recent report was released in October.
If the county receives additional federal funding, the nonprofit may begin accepting new applications in February.