Norfolk housing officials work to help residents with payment plans so debt doesn’t mount up

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new eviction moratorium that would last until Oct. 3.

This, as the delta coronavirus variant spreads and the release of federal rental aid moves at a slow pace.

The extension temporarily halts evictions in counties with “substantial” and “high” levels of virus transmissions and areas where 90% of the U.S. population lives.

That includes Norfolk, where Nealy Gihan works with the Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority.

They help folks in Section 8 housing through their housing choice voucher program.

“We were just in the process of starting to look at those who have their outstanding rent and try to work with people actually before we started any type of eviction proceedings,” stated Gihan.

Gihan says there are concerns with some people using the eviction moratorium as an excuse to not pay rent.

Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority has a total of over 447,000 in past-due rent owed with 543 delinquent resident accounts as of July 31.

She says some people don’t realize that debt doesn’t disappear.

“It is a fear that once it’s over, then you’re going to get this big lump sum amount of past-due rent all at once and that can be overwhelming,” said Gihan.

The CDC cited the slow pace of state and local governments disbursing housing aid as justification for the new moratorium.

Gihan says if you are someone in public housing who needs help applying for those funds, reach out for help.

“We want them to come talk to their property managers and get them on a plan and how to help them,” said Gihan.

On the other end, she says not everyone has been racking up tons of debt. They’ve helped some people transition to becoming homeowners through all of this.

Also during COVID-19, she says they’ve had 34 residents in their Workforce Development Program find new jobs from July 2019 through June 2020, and 35 from July 2020 through June 2021.

She says they continue to work with landlords and have a Landlord Summit scheduled for Sept. 29.

For more information on how you can contact the NRHA, click here.

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