A new coalition called Campaign to Reduce Evictions (CARE) was formed earlier this year by Christie Marra, a staff attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center. This organization is determined to reduce the number of home evictions in the state of Virginia. The New York Times published data collected by Matthew Desmond, Princeton University sociology professor, ranking of 10 cities with the highest eviction rates in the nation, and five are in Virginia: Richmond, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Chesapeake. CARE seeks to promote education programs focusing on tenant rights and have attorneys offer legal advice to tenants facing eviction.
Suggestions made by CARE to remedy the current eviction situation include tax credits, and state rental assistance to help lower income individuals pay their rent. What that means to you is your state tax dollars will go to help someone pay for their house. If tax credits are enacted, people who are paying taxes will pay more to offset the credit. All of the articles that have been posted about the eviction rates focus on helping low income individuals and families stay in a home that they can’t afford. While on the surface it seems commendable, at the end of the day, you still have an organization advocating that we all share the responsibility of paying for housing.
In the New York Times article, Levar Stoney, Richmond’s mayor states, “This isn’t by happenstance — this is quite intentional.” This is a state, Mr. Stoney and others say, that favors property owners, as it has since plantation days. (New York Times)
The irony is that the recommendations from CARE actually mimic “plantation days”. Why is this a solution? If you don’t pay for something, you shouldn’t be allowed to keep it. You certainly shouldn’t expect someone else to pay for it, yet here we are. What’s next, a coalition to make sure you can keep your car when you don’t pay?
Over the Summer Lt. Governor of Virginia Justin Fairfax and Richmond Mayer Lamar Stoney convened a panel on how to reduce eviction rates. “Among the ideas floated at the discussion: lengthening the grace period for renters to pay late rent and fees before a landlord can initiate eviction proceedings.” (Richmond Times). How is this a solution? I’m sure the landlord whose bank is requesting payment on time for the mortgage isn’t going to extend the same grace period. Then the home would go into foreclosure, forcing the tenant from the property anyway.
The people at CARE feel their work is important, as there must be a national conspiracy to evict people from their homes. There is no conspiracy. Rent a home you can afford. And if you can’t afford a home, then rely on social services to help guide you to organizations who can help you get on your feet. Family, churches and community have been replaced by coalitions and taxpayers.