Rent, mortgage relief funds available


“I need people to come get this money.”

During a phone call Monday afternoon, Family Crisis Support Services Executive Director Marybeth Adkins stated that her agency received money from a state-administered rent and mortgage relief program June 29, but not many people have requested assistance.

“I’ve got this money and no one is coming to get it,” Adkins said with a laugh. “I need to get the word out.”

Gov. Ralph Northam launched the program in June, setting aside $50 million in federal CARES Act funding for households that have fallen behind in rent or mortgage payments and face eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the governor’s website, Northam is quoted as saying, “Expanding access to safe, affordable housing has been and will continue to be a top priority of my administration during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Department of Housing and Community Development administered the $50 million program through partners such as local governments and nonprofits. FCSS is one of those partners.

According to Adkins, the money is available to households below 80 percent of area median income. Payments can be made from March until now for rent and mortgages.

She stated that FCSS can assist anyone meeting income qualifications within Wise, Lee, Scott and Dickenson counties as well as the city of Norton, but so far only about 40 households have signed up. Adkins did not say the exact amount FCSS received, but she mentioned that more than half of the funds remain available.

“The paperwork is so easy,” said Adkins, “It’s two pages and we (FCSS) are the ones doing it. We are literally processing an application and submitting payments the next day to landlords and mortgage agencies.”

Adkins said that with so little interest from the public, she wondered if people were aware of the program. “I’ve had the money for almost a month now.”

Adkins believes that with federal unemployment benefits ending this week, there will be an increase in people needing assistance.

If you need assistance, Family Crisis Support Services can be reached at 276/679-7240.