Richmond, VA - On August 16, 2022, tenants of Southwood Apartments will march throughout the apartment complex to protest against pending eviction notices at 1:30 p.m. The march will begin at 1730 Clarkson Street and end at the Southwood Apartment leasing office, where they will submit their demands.
The resident demands include: 1) forgiving all rent debt, as residents believed management applied funds from the state rent relief program to their accounts, 2) placing a hold on any evictions until an investigation has been opened for each affected resident, and 3) if a repayment plan can be reached, a long term payment plan lasting for up to one year.
As of May 15, 2022, the statewide rent relief program stopped accepting any new applications, and after July 1st, 2022, protections ensuring that a tenant with a pending rent relief application would not be evicted were lifted. Shortly afterward, Southwood tenants received court orders for evictions as well as payment owed notices, in amounts as much as $12,000.
NVM is aware of 32 affected tenants who were shocked to hear they owed so much, as management has continually suggested to residents to wait for the approval of rent relief applications before paying rent. After filling out rent relief applications, residents were told to wait 45 days before coming back, and when residents requested updates, office staff would tell them to wait another two weeks for progress of their application, without making further inquiries.
Additionally, Southwood Apartment management has given tenants the option to pay $ 5,000 of their debt before September 1 and have the remaining debt forgiven, or the option to pay 1/6th of the debt they owe monthly in addition to their regular rent (in some cases, this would equal over $2,000).
Southwood tenant, Jose Machado, said, “I trusted that I had a rent relief application filled out in Southwood’s leasing office. I recently received a card notifying me that I owe $10,500, and I feel extremely worried and scared because I have no idea where I’m going to get that much money, I think it's extremely unfair what is being done to us by the administration.”
To speak with organizers or tenants, contact Debra Freeman at [email protected] or 757-452-1143.
New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color, in immigrant communities, among LGBTQ people, women, youth, and progressives across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic and environmentally sustainable. For more information, visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @NewVAMajority.