Virginia Eviction Reduction Pilot (VERP)

Recognizing the benefits of eviction reduction efforts, the General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed a budget during the 2020 Special Session, allocating $3.3 million to implement the Virginia Eviction Reduction Pilot (VERP). The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) was directed to design and implement the pilot.  HOME of VA was selected as a grantee to create a local systems approach to prevent evictions in for the City of Richmond.  When evictions cannot be prevented, the system will integrate into the existing Eviction Diversion Program.  The systems approach will assist households with having early access to resources to stabilize their housing situations. This program will explore holistic approaches with the tenants input that meet them where they are for addressing their household needs.

Eligible Expenses:

  • Utilities (gas, electric, water,)
  • Transportation allowances (bus tickets, ride sharing services, car repairs, insurance payments)
  • Credit building (credit reports, rental judgement payments and other credit repair and protective costs)
  • Security deposits
  • Day Care
  • Rent and late fees
  • Workforce Supports (Uniforms, training, etc.)

Components:

  • Housing Stabilization Education Programs (Financial Literacy, Tenants Rights and Responsibilities, Understanding the Eviction Process, Credit Management)
  • Credit Counseling
  • Financial Assistance
  • Workforce Development Training Referral
  • One-on-One Housing and Financial Counseling
  • Access to Supportive Services Resources
  • Case Management
  • Negotiation between landlords and tenants
  • Outreach and coordination with key partners and stakeholders

For the purposes of this pilot, eviction prevention services are provided to households before they are issued unlawful detainers and courts get involved. Prevention services generally involve short-term financial assistance along with case management to ensure the household is connected to needed resources that stabilize their housing situation.

Eviction diversion services are provided after households are issued unlawful detainers and usually involve assisting with the negotiation process between landlords and tenants in outlining the terms of payment plans to address past due rent and fees. Typically, the further along in the eviction process a household gets, the further in debt the household becomes.

The purpose of this pilot program is to create a local/regional coordinated systems approach to effectively prevent evictions. When evictions cannot be prevented, the system must also include how to divert evictions once the household has received an unlawful detainer. The systems approach will include creating a collective impact model where organizations that serve as a safety-net within the community collaborate to ensure households have early access to resources to stabilize their housing situations.

To take part in these programs, the tenant must:

  • Have a valid lease in their name.
  • Have a gross household income at or below 80% of area median income.

City of Richmond residents can call 1-833-663-8428, press 4, and leave a message or apply online here.