Legislative Spotlight: Urgent Need for Eviction Prevention and Legal Services in Alexandria City
Today, at the Alexandria City Council's Legislative Meeting, the Council will hear a recommendation from the Eviction Prevention Task Force, via the City Manager, addressing the urgent need for eviction prevention and legal services in the City. The Eviction Prevention Task Force was organized last year to coordinate its resources and improve outreach to residents at risk of eviction due to the financial toll caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Task Force is comprised of representatives from:
Alexandria City Department of Community and Human Services
Alexandria City Office of Housing
Alexandria City Sheriff’s Office
Alexandria City Attorney’s Office
Legal Services of Northern Virginia
Tenant and Workers United
African Communities Together
Emergency Financial Providers
Recently, the Supreme Court invalidated the Center for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium, which prevented evictions in locations like Alexandria that are experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission levels of COVID-19. A memo from the Alexandria City Manager noted that following eviction, the likelihood of someone experiencing homelessness increases, which has an effect on not just one’s ability to obtain employment but one’s mental and physical health. Respiratory disease is also linked to Eviction, which could increase the risk of complications if COVID-19 is contracted. With the moratorium officially ended City staff believe that City will experience an increase in residents who need assistance in applying for state rental assistance and to find new housing, and who will require other resources.
To address these concerns, the Eviction Prevention Task is recommending that Alexandria City Council increase the capacity to support households in the eviction process by funding two Service Navigators and two Housing Relocator positions (funded at $307,000), storage assistance for household belongings (funded at $50,000), and additional legal services to assist those at risk for eviction (funded at $50,000). For more detail on the duties of the Service Navigators and two Housing Relocators please refer back to the memo from the City Manager.
The City Manager notes that funding for recommendations will come from funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in the amount of $407,000, however, staff project that an additional $500,000 will be needed for eviction related support that will need to come from the second tranch of ARPA. That additional funding would be proposed as part of the FY 2023 budget process. For more information on these recommendations please contact the Alexandria City Manager’s office at (703) 746-4300.