ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Alexandria Eviction Prevention Program (AEPP) is a new resource led by women at area nonprofits to help residents with eviction concerns. It is supported by ALIVE! and ACT for Alexandria, the latter of which provided grant funding. The Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance, Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV), and the Lazarus Ministry of Christ Church are also AEPP partners.
Currently, there is a statewide moratorium on evictions until Dec. 31, though it is not absolute. As of this writing, there has been no announcement regarding what will happen after that date. New notice requirements were passed on Nov. 9 allowing landlords to give a 14-day notice with the amount due and rental assistance information. The steps must be taken before proceeding with eviction.
The Zebra Press contacted LSNV for clarification on the moratorium. According to Staff Attorney Mary C. Horner, despite the protection in place, more than 50 writs of eviction have been carried out in Alexandria since Nov. 9.
“If the tenant does not demonstrate that they have applied for rental assistance, the landlord may proceed to eviction,” she said. “Additionally, the CDC moratorium has always required tenants to take affirmative steps, [such as reviewing and signing the CDC Declaration], in order to stop an eviction.”
In its first week of existence, AEPP received over 200 requests for information. Its staff has found shelter for several families and provided financial assistance so others can pay rent through the month.
Program leaders see their work from a holistic approach. ALIVE!’s Executive Director Jennifer Ayers told The Zebra that the program focuses on education and connection.
“We are often educating people and landlords about the moratorium as many are unaware and helping people who face literacy and language challenges to understand what is available,” she said. “We are also helping to make connections to financial support and/or help some people get connected to other supports.”
Because the program is funded by ACT for Alexandria’s Resilience Fund, which relies on the CARES Act, funding could run out at the end of the month. As a result, it could be run by volunteers after Dec. 31. On that day, all money from the CARES Act must be spent. Aware of the future, AEPP has already applied for funding into the new year.