Norfolk housing officials are working to help residents make payment plans so debt doesn’t pile up


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new moratorium on evictions that would last until October 3.

This, as the variant of the delta coronavirus spreads and the release of federal rent assistance advances at a slow pace.

The extension temporarily halted evictions in counties with “substantial” and “high” levels of virus transmission and areas where 90% of the US population lives.

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

They help people with Section 8 housing through their Housing Choice Voucher program.

“We were just starting to look at those with their unpaid rent and trying to work with people before we started any kind of eviction process,” Gihan said.

Gihan says there are concerns that some people are using the moratorium on evictions as an excuse for not paying rent.

The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority has a total of over 447,000 unpaid rent owed with 543 resident accounts in arrears as of July 31.

She says some people don’t realize debt doesn’t go away.

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

The CDC cited the slowness of state and local governments in disbursing housing subsidies as the justification for the new moratorium.

Gihan says if you’re someone in public housing who needs help applying for these funds, ask for help.

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

On the flip side, she says not everyone has racked up tons of debt. They’ve helped some people become homeowners through it all.

Also during COVID-19, she says 34 residents in their workforce development program found new jobs from July 2019 to June 2020, and 35 from July 2020 to June 2021.

She says they continue to work with owners and an owners summit is scheduled for September 29.

For more information on how to contact NRHA, click here.

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