Governor Northam announces $4 million to fund legal services for Virginians facing evictions

Posted at 2:53 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 14:53:32-04

RICHMOND, Va. - Governor Ralph Northam announced Monday $4 million in funding for legal services to Virginia tenants facing evictions for the next two years.

Northam announced funding for the Legal Services Corporation of Virginia, which will support 20 Legal Aid attorneys in providing services to Virginia tenants.

The governor will match a $2 million donation from IKEA U.S. Community Foundation with $2 million from Virginia’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is supported by tax revenue from electronic skill machines.

“Our Commonwealth faced an eviction crisis before COVID-19 arrived in early March, and the ongoing global pandemic is making this problem even worse,” said Governor Northam. “We are deeply grateful to IKEA for this generous donation that, coupled with money from the COVID-19 Relief Fund and other federal resources, will help more Virginians stay in their homes as we fight this virus. In an unprecedented crisis and financial uncertainty, we must be able to get relief to vulnerable populations quickly and efficiently—this additional funding will make that possible.”

IKEA Retail U.S. has stores in Norfolk and Woodbridge and employs approximately 550 Virginians.

Housing security continues to be a top priority for the Commonweatlth and Northam asked that the $2 million donation from IKEA to the Commonwealth be directed to support eviction relief.

“We are appreciative of the ongoing support from the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the unemployment funds paid to our co-workers who were furloughed in the early weeks of the pandemic,” said Javier Quiñones, IKEA Retail U.S. president. “People are the heart of our business, and these unemployment benefits helped IKEA U.S. co-workers during a difficult time. We now have a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on our business, and we’ve decided to pay it forward to support the ongoing relief efforts in our local communities.”

According to Northam, Virginia families facing eviction have successful outcomes 72% of the time when represented by Legal Aid lawyers, as opposed to just 34% without representation.

Governor Northam also established the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program, which has served more than 3,100 households in Virginia, and over 60% of the households served have children in the home.

To watch the video of Monday's announcement click here.