Fearing wave of evictions, advocates press Richmond City Council to up investment in affordable housing

April 27, 2020. Richmond Times-Dispatch.

In the middle of a pandemic many fear will cost families their homes, advocates on Monday pressed the Richmond City Council to steer more dollars to affordable housing for residents.

In normal times, Richmond landlords evicted tenants at the second-highest rate of any like-sized city in the country, Princeton University researchers found. Advocates expect that trend to worsen with jobless claims mounting and the COVID-19 crisis increasing the economic strain on families that were already just getting by.

“COVID-19 has turned Richmond’s eviction and affordable housing crisis into a public health calamity,” said Marty Wegbreit, an attorney with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.

“Human lives and dignity are at stake,” said Aubrey Jones, a board member of Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Our Communities, or RISC.