Northam announces emergency funding to shelter nearly 1,500 homeless Virginians during coronavirus


Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) delivers his State of the Commonwealth address on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Governor Northam announced on Friday that an emergency fund of $2.5 million will be given to provide temporary housing and support for nearly 1,500 unsheltered Virginians during the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding will allow for vouchers including hotel and motel stays, food, medical transportation, and necessary case management. It is also expected to help sheltered people that need to be quarantined who do not have space to socially distance themselves from others, which is the case in many of the local shelters.

According to the statement released, those considered homeless are at a higher risk of having chronic health conditions causing them to be more susceptible to catching the virus.

“As we battle this unprecedented public health crisis, we must make sure no one is left behind,” said Governor Northam. “I have issued a statewide Stay at Home order, but we know there are many Virginians with no home to stay in. With this funding, we will ensure people experiencing homelessness have access to immediate housing options and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

State and federal housing protections have been put in place by the state which suspends eviction court proceedings though April 25 and a 120-day suspension for those that hold vouchers for Housing Choice.

A portion of the funding will be provided by FEMA and go towards helping those unsheltered that are 65 and older, those considered at high risk, and helping people that have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The VDH and Virginia DHCD created a quick reference guide that can be found online for those working in shelters and those living in shelters.

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