Roanoke residents requiring financial aid to help pay bills still have time to qualify

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — With the statewide moratorium on evictions ending July 31st, many may be looking for assistance. Luckily, there are financial assistance opportunities waiting.

More than 100 people with Housing Choice Vouchers are still waiting to be housed, despite the City of Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority officials working around the clock to find new opportunities for housing as well as finding landlords willing to participate in the program.

Currently, 1,400 units in our area are utilizing the housing authority. Eight public housing developments and five developments are helping with the assisted housing program.

According to Evangeline Richie, Vice President of Housing for the City of Roanoke Redevelopment & Housing Authority, “We are actively working with Virginia Housing through their program. We are also working with TAP.”

Although the moratorium ends at the end of July, getting assistance on rent could take between two and six weeks. The process of evicting those behind on their rent takes weeks, so there is little time to get assistance.

Families still at their residence who are behind on their rent, even without being able to pay, is causing a bit of a backup in housing.

“We have a great number of applicants that are currently on the waiting list. A lot of our developments will also be reopening their waitlists in the very near future,” Richie explained.

Through the Virginia Housing Rent Relief Program, you can get paid for up to 15 months in rent going back to April 1, 2020.

Back in March of 2020, disconnections with the water authority were halted. That moratorium was lifted, but the Western Virginia Water Authority is choosing to hold off on disconnections until October. Before that time, officials are asking those who need help to reach out.

According to Sarah Baumgardner, the Public Relations Director for the Western Virginia Water Authority, “We would much rather that they reach out to us now and get financial assistance or set up a payment plan that allows them to pay off their past-due balance over a period of time.”

Originally, the Water Authority was receiving money from the CARES Act as well as with the City of Roanoke, a total sum of $245,000. Through that funding, more than 2,100 customers were helped in the area.

“We had to use all of that money to fund customers’ past due balances,” Baumgardner continued.

Now, funds are coming from the Authority Cares Program. Through that, you can get up to $100 towards your bill. You can also set up a payment plan, which could get tacked to your monthly bill to help pay down your debt over two years.

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