RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Governor Ralph Northam announced Friday a new program to help prevent and reduce evictions across the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Eviction Reduction Pilot (VERP) Program will award more than $2.6 million in grants to 14 localities including Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, and Richmond — which have been identified as cities having high eviction rates in the state.

The four eviction prevention pilot programs in these cities will support local and regional initiatives in the counties of Gloucester, James City, Lee, Matthews, Scott, Wise, and York, as well as the cities of Norton, Poquoson, and Williamsburg.

The funds will help build capacity and put prevention and diversion programs in place to address the underlying causes of evictions.

“The affordable housing crisis predates the COVID-19 pandemic and we have to address the underlying causes of evictions if we want to emerge stronger and continue moving Virginia forward,” said Northam.

“This pilot program will implement targeted, equitable solutions to help improve the overall resilience of our communities and strengthen local capacity to deliver eviction prevention services now and into the future,” Northam continued.

2021 VERP Grant Awards:

  • United Way of the Virginia Peninsula — $1,050,000: Gloucester, James City, Mathews, and York counties and the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, and Williamsburg
  • Norfolk Eviction Diversion and Support Program$560,000: City of Norfolk
  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia$800,000: City of Richmond
  • Family Crisis Support Services$200,000: Lee, Scott, and Wise counties and the City of Norton

Read the full statement here.