VA Responds to Evictions Crisis
The newly-formed Campaign to Reduce Evictions (CARE) launched May 22 with a kick-off presentation at the First Baptist Church in Richmond. Convened by the Virginia Poverty Law Center, this multi-sector group of attorneys, tenant advocates, organizers, and researchers was created in response to the release of Eviction Lab data earlier this year showing an alarming number of evictions occurring in certain Virginia localities.
The event began with steering committee member Tonya Kernodle sharing her personal eviction story, followed by attorney Martin Wegbreit explaining Virginia’s legal process and timeline for an eviction. Researchers Kathryn Howell and Jonathan Knopf walked attendees through a review of the current data, noting the gaps in eviction data for many jurisdictions. Part of the work of the CARE campaign will be to collect the eviction stories of tenants from across the state. The packed venue and thoughtful discussion made it clear that the topic of evictions touched a nerve and reinforced the need for a review of Virginia’s eviction policies, and the development of more quality, accessible housing that is affordable. The following work groups will convene this summer, with the goal of developing recommendations to present at CARE’s September 25 meeting:
- Eviction prevention services and supports;
- Legal court practice and legal representation;
- Supply and demand of quality affordable rental housing.