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Study highlights homelessness, eviction rate in Richmond | Associated Press

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — “Sheriff’s office! Anybody home?” yelled a sheriff’s deputy with his hand over his gun, his holster unsnapped.

Deputy John Vaughan opened the door of an apartment that was empty enough to make his voice echo. A red scooter and an old crib were the only items left.

“Cleared!” he yelled after inspecting each room. The apartment complex’s custodian, who had been waiting outside, was allowed in and quickly began to change the locks.

The same scene was witnessed 14 times by a Washington Post reporter one November morning in this state capital, which according to data collected at Princeton’s Eviction Lab has the second-highest eviction rate in the country.

The Richmond City Sheriff’s Office had a light load that day: 55 eviction orders. On more typical days, the number jumps to 70 or higher, officials said.

In Southwood, a neighborhood where rents range from $500 to $800 a month for two-bedroom townhouses and apartments, advocates say it has become common to see people cram their belongings into plastic bags, place them in car trunks and leave their apartments before a handful of deputies come to knock on their door.

For many, these scenes are not new.

Advocates and experts say the eviction tradition in Richmond and other Southern cities and towns dates back generations, and has affected black communities the most.

“There has been a housing crisis, an eviction crisis and a displacement crisis for several decades,” said Benjamin Teresa, co-director of the RVA Eviction Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University, who has studied housing issues in Virginia and other Southern states.

He points to laws favoring landlords like “pay or quit,” which allows property owners to launch eviction proceedings five days after the payment grace period (other states provide up to 30 days).

TENANTS’ RIGHTS

Teresa said minority communities in Richmond are subjected to predatory lending and discrimination, especially renters who use federal housing vouchers. Landlords can refuse to accept vouchers, and he said landlords who do accept them often steer tenants to housing in poor neighborhoods.

With a new Democratic majority in the General Assembly, advocates were hoping for ambitious housing reform across the commonwealth this year. More than a dozen measures were introduced to tackle housing issues, but none “explicitly deals with eviction,” said Christie Marra, a family and housing attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center.

She said most of the focus has been on giving tenants tools to ensure their housing is safe and habitable, cap fees assessed after late rent payments and force landlords to make or pay for repairs.

A measure requiring landlords to provide tenants a list of their rights and responsibilities at the beginning of the lease term was approved by the Senate with bipartisan support and is awaiting action by the House.

The Senate unanimously approved and sent to the House a bill that would give tenants the right to make essential repairs and deduct them from their rent if a landlord refuses or does not take care of the issue within 14 days.

Another bill, proposed by state Sen. Scott A. Surovell (D-Fairfax) would allow judges to expunge eviction records from cases that were dismissed or withdrawn by the landlord. Such records can make it hard for renters to secure future leases. The bill passed the Senate unanimously, and it is expected to be heard in the House this week.

And despite opposition, the House approved 61 to 37 a bill that bans landlords from refusing housing vouchers as payment. The measure was referred to the Senate.

Marra said the legislation is leading the state in the right direction.

“I think we all needed time to see what could get done in some of these other areas,” she said. “And then regroup once this session ends to try to really focus on gathering together groups of tenants in the high-evicting areas to hear directly from them.”

PHONE CALLS AND MOTELS

A few days after Vaughan searched the apartment with the red scooter, Laurette Turner, 64, sat at the end of a hotel bed on the other side of Richmond. She was talking to yet another employee of a housing organization that aims to help evictees.

She was evicted in June, along with her daughter and three grandchildren, from a government-subsidized apartment complex where she had lived for more than eight years, mostly on disability payments and government assistance.

Turner said the property managers at the Townes at River South apartments lost two of her rent payments; staff at the complex said they were unable to comment on her case.

For more than six months, Turner sought help from nonprofits and government organizations in searching for permanent housing. Having an eviction on her rental record meant many landlords turned her away, she said, so cheap hotels were often the only option.

She compared rates, called reception desks, negotiated with case managers for enough funding to stay for a few days or a week. Each time she needed to leave, she moved her family’s belongings in plastic bags.

“Everybody thinks the homeless are the people on the street or the people walking up and down the street for money. Or people sleeping in their cars,” she said in her room at the Quality Inn in Northside Richmond. “But it’s more than that.”

Before Christmas, she found a landlord willing to rent the family a townhouse for six months. “It has three bedrooms, one bath, living room, dining area and kitchen with washer and dryer hookups,” she texted a Washington Post reporter. “Thank God for his grace and mercy.”

Turner has been trying to get the landlord to install a washer and dryer, and she hopes to extend the lease until the end of 2020. She also wants to pay a credit repair service she saw on television, which she believes could get the eviction erased from her record.

“I’m going to find out,” she said on Feb. 11.

DOING HIS JOB

Those carrying out removals were unaware that an eviction epidemic was plaguing their hometown until Princeton’s Eviction Lab study, which found that the 10 U.S. cities with the highest eviction rates included five in Virginia: Richmond, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Chesapeake.

“It was an eye-opener,” said Civil Process Sgt. Larry Trotter. “We have five deputies and we’re at number two. It’s not a number you celebrate. Nobody was celebrating.”

The attention, he says, prompted roundtable discussions with Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and local officials, who sought his input on how to decrease the eviction rate. He said he believes, however, that those efforts were flawed.

“The ones at the roundtables should have been the judges, and the ones who make these laws,” Trotter said. “Everybody wants a quick fix. There is no quick fix to it.”

Trotter, who is black and grew up in Petersburg, about 20 miles south of Richmond, said he became a deputy sheriff because he wanted to help society and give law enforcement a positive light in his community.

“I wanted to be the person that people can say, ‘Okay, he has a badge, but he’s still him. He has a badge, but he’s not out here abusing me,’ ” he said. “Because that’s what I seen coming up.”

Years ago, Trotter was on the other side of an eviction order. He was unemployed and recovering from knee surgery when he was put out of his apartment.

He lived in his car and sent his family to stay with his in-laws.

He draws from his personal story to try to help those he evicts, telling them that instead of putting blame on others, they should instead learn what options are available and ask, “Where do I go from here?”

He carries pamphlets in his shirt pocket with information on legal and housing services, and even talks to evictees about openings at the sheriff’s office.

“I can do no more, no less with the power that I’m given,” Trotter said. “You don’t want to put people out, but you have to because you have to do your job.”

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Black Lives Matter job fair aims to provide economic opportunity in Polk County

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LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Black Lives Matter organizers in Polk County are putting together a database to help lead people on the path to economic opportunity.

“I do a lot of things. General contracting, general clean up,” Tony Jones, of Lakeland, told a local recruiter.

Tony Jones, who lives in Lakeland

Jones is a veteran looking for a job. He served four years in the U.S. Army.

He wants to work, just needs an opportunity.

“You can’t pay no bills and eat if you’re sitting at home waiting for somebody to hand you something. You gotta get out and get it,” he said.

Jones came to the Dream Center in Lakeland to try to take those steps at a job fair organized by Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk Inc.

Black Lives Matter advocates protested to end police brutality this summer in Lakeland and all across the world with the ultimate goal of social justice.

“What’s going to happen next with Black Lives Matter after the marching and the rally? For us, it’s providing economic opportunity,” said Jarvis Washington, President & Founder of Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk Inc.

Wednesday’s job fair event launched Washington’s economic initiatives.

“We’re going to be working on the personal growth of the individual. We’re going to be helping them on everything from the mentoring program, credit repair programs, teaching them money management,” he said.

BLM partnered with Civitas Recruiting for the event.

Susan Freebern created the organization a few months ago to help community leaders steer under-served communities to good-paying jobs.

“They don’t know where to go to get these kinds of jobs. They don’t feel like they’re offered these kinds of jobs through regular staffing companies. I’m just going to go find those jobs and bring them to them,” she said.

On Wednesday, Civitas Recruiting and Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk gathered information to recruit workers for future projects through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program.

“Nothing’s gonna be fixed overnight or taken care of. I think we just need to all strive together, make positive steps. That’s all you can do,” Jones said.

To sign up for the program click here.

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How DIY Debt Relief is Simplifying The Road to Financial Freedom

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Los Angeles, California, Dec. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — “Debt” is an anxiety-inducing topic for most Americans. According to financial experts, about 80% of Americans have some form of consumer debt and are $38,000 in debt, excluding mortgage debt. Unfortunately, financial literacy isn’t a topic that’s extensively covered in schools. As a result, many Americans lack valuable knowledge on personal finance topics — including how credit cards and loans actually work, or how to get out of debt quickly should they experience financial hardship. When times are tough, the concept of “free” money is very appealing and overrides reservations about amassing large amounts of consumer debt.

While consumers have numerous debt-relief options — ranging from consumer credit counselling to debt settlement to bankruptcy — the actual road to recovery is fraught with numerous hazards that include repayment terms with unaffordable monthly payments, repayment terms that take too long, exorbitant fees, and false promises.

With over a decade of experience in the credit and finance industries, these are problems the founders of DIY Debt Relief understand all too well. Debt relief — specifically settling delinquent accounts with creditors and collectors — cost consumers more time and money than most can afford. Compounding the problem are unscrupulous service providers that make promises they can’t keep — charging too much for the service they provide and taking too long to provide said relief. It was with these issues in mind that DIY Debt Relief was created. 

DIY Debt Relief is a web-based company that provides educational videos and supporting materials to offer a “do it yourself” alternative for distressed consumers. By eliminating the need for a third-party service provider, consumers can avoid the prohibitive fees they charge — which in turn reduces the amount of time needed to settle accounts, pay off the agreed upon balances, and become debt-free. Additionally, even creditors and collectors who often refuse to work with third-party service providers are all too eager to work with consumers directly.

 The content, tools and resources DIY Debt Relief provide are designed to help consumers assess, evaluate, and improve their financial situation. The information is based on United States federal laws and regulations which govern the actions of creditors and debt collectors, which means they can be accessed and utilized in all 50 states. With these assets in hand, consumers can create a plan of action to get their delinquent, unsecured debt paid off as quickly and as affordably as possible. And with the belief that credit repair is the next logical step after the debt settlement and repayment process is completed, DIY Debt Relief provides additional resources and information teaching consumers how to quickly and correctly rebuild their credit profiles and FICO scores. 

The DIY Debt Relief process is easy to follow, gives the consumer control, is less expensive to implement, takes less time to complete, and can provide better results. Rather than relying on a third-party to entrust your financial future to, consumers now have the option of taking the initiative and doing the necessary work to get themselves to the debt-free future they deserve. With the goal of taking DIY Debt Relief internationally, the eventual next step is to make the videos in other languages. For right now, DIY Debt Relief’s videos educate on debt relief only in the United States — but its possibilities are endless, its effect promising, and its only trajectory from here is up.  

DIY Debt Relief IG: @diydebtrelief   www.diydebtrelief.com

Media Contact: support@diydebtrelief.com

This news has been published for the above source. DIY Debt Relief [ID=15547]

Disclaimer: The pr is provided “as is”, without warranty of any kind, express or implied: The content publisher provides the information without warranty of any kind. We also do not accept any responsibility or liability for the legal facts, content accuracy, photos, videos. if you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.  

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How DIY Debt Relief is Simplifying The Road to Financial Freedom | 2020-12-02 | Press Releases

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Los Angeles, California, Dec. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — “Debt” is an anxiety-inducing topic for most Americans. According to financial experts, about 80% of Americans have some form of consumer debt and are $38,000 in debt, excluding mortgage debt. Unfortunately, financial literacy isn’t a topic that’s extensively covered in schools. As a result, many Americans lack valuable knowledge on personal finance topics — including how credit cards and loans actually work, or how to get out of debt quickly should they experience financial hardship. When times are tough, the concept of “free” money is very appealing and overrides reservations about amassing large amounts of consumer debt.

While consumers have numerous debt-relief options — ranging from consumer credit counselling to debt settlement to bankruptcy — the actual road to recovery is fraught with numerous hazards that include repayment terms with unaffordable monthly payments, repayment terms that take too long, exorbitant fees, and false promises.

With over a decade of experience in the credit and finance industries, these are problems the founders of DIY Debt Relief understand all too well. Debt relief — specifically settling delinquent accounts with creditors and collectors — cost consumers more time and money than most can afford. Compounding the problem are unscrupulous service providers that make promises they can’t keep — charging too much for the service they provide and taking too long to provide said relief. It was with these issues in mind that DIY Debt Relief was created.

DIY Debt Relief is a web-based company that provides educational videos and supporting materials to offer a “do it yourself” alternative for distressed consumers. By eliminating the need for a third-party service provider, consumers can avoid the prohibitive fees they charge — which in turn reduces the amount of time needed to settle accounts, pay off the agreed upon balances, and become debt-free. Additionally, even creditors and collectors who often refuse to work with third-party service providers are all too eager to work with consumers directly.

The content, tools and resources DIY Debt Relief provide are designed to help consumers assess, evaluate, and improve their financial situation. The information is based on United States federal laws and regulations which govern the actions of creditors and debt collectors, which means they can be accessed and utilized in all 50 states. With these assets in hand, consumers can create a plan of action to get their delinquent, unsecured debt paid off as quickly and as affordably as possible. And with the belief that credit repair is the next logical step after the debt settlement and repayment process is completed, DIY Debt Relief provides additional resources and information teaching consumers how to quickly and correctly rebuild their credit profiles and FICO scores.

The DIY Debt Relief process is easy to follow, gives the consumer control, is less expensive to implement, takes less time to complete, and can provide better results. Rather than relying on a third-party to entrust your financial future to, consumers now have the option of taking the initiative and doing the necessary work to get themselves to the debt-free future they deserve. With the goal of taking DIY Debt Relief internationally, the eventual next step is to make the videos in other languages. For right now, DIY Debt Relief’s videos educate on debt relief only in the United States — but its possibilities are endless, its effect promising, and its only trajectory from here is up.

DIY Debt Relief IG: @diydebtrelief www.diydebtrelief.com

Media Contact: support@diydebtrelief.com

This news has been published for the above source. DIY Debt Relief [ID=15547]

Disclaimer: The pr is provided “as is”, without warranty of any kind, express or implied: The content publisher provides the information without warranty of any kind. We also do not accept any responsibility or liability for the legal facts, content accuracy, photos, videos. if you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.


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