Virginia’s Eviction Crisis

Friday, August 19th, 2022

Photo of an evicted apartment resident now living in her car.

After being evicted from the Virginia Beach apartment she lived in for five years because of a late Virginia Rent Relief payment, Starla has spent months sleeping in her car, at campgrounds, and at the homes of friends. She travels with two dogs entrusted to her by a friend. Most homeless shelters will not accept animals.

Since July 1, Virginia has seen nearly 16,000 new eviction cases, marking the end of the state’s rent relief program and the expiration of temporary legal protections provided to tenants during COVID-19.

In that time there have been more than 1,800 calls to VPLC’s Eviction Legal Helpline. That’s far more than the staff and volunteer attorneys have been able to assist with direct advice and supplemental email information. Due to the limited funding and volunteer attorney roster, many callers receive only legal self-help materials to help make their case in court.

VPLC Executive Director Jay Speer considers the rise in eviction, including many that are illegal or unnecessary, a form of state-sanctioned violence. “Removing all of a family’s belongings and sending children, the elderly and the disabled to the shelter, the streets or to a life in their car strikes me as not only violence but terribly cruel,” he said.

View recent Richmond Times Dispatch coverage of eviction issues at Richmond’s Southwood Apartments here.

Legal helpline phone 833-663-8428

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