Clergy Eviction Sign-on

Dear Clergy Friend,

As you know, there is a crisis of evictions in Virginia. The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy is working to get 100 or more clergy to send a letter to Governor Northam that we will publically release in the next few weeks. Please sign this letter as a means of helping stop mass evictions in Virginia during COVID-19. Your voice is critical.

Please be sure to indicate your name, title, and your congregation.

You will be signing on as an individual - not speaking for your institution. The final document will include this language, "Clergy's institutions are listed for identification purposes only."

Kim Bobo
Executive Director
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

BELOW IS THE TEXT OF THE PUBLIC LETTER THAT YOU ARE SIGNING:

July 27, 2020

Dear Governor Northam:

As religious leaders from various faith traditions, we ask you to issue an immediate moratorium on all residential evictions in the Commonwealth of Virginia and fully fund a robust rent relief program. The right to a safe and secure home belongs to everyone. Yet, this basic dignity is denied to many throughout Virginia. We feel called to speak out against depriving anyone of their home, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our faith traditions teach us that life is sacred and that we all deserve a secure shelter.

On June 29th, courts in Virginia began hearing unlawful detainer actions and issuing writs of eviction. Thousands of our brothers and sisters face eviction if they are unable to access rent relief. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, communities of color and specifically Black Virginians were more likely to experience the violence of eviction.[1] We have seen this same trend in racial disparities as our LatinX and Black residents suffer disproportionate rates of infection and COVID-19 related deaths. [2] We are deeply concerned that Black, Indigenous, LatinX, Asian and Pacific Islanders and other communities of color are in an especially precarious position as they attempt to navigate the health pandemic and the looming possibility of homelessness. 

We are grateful for the steps your administration has taken towards forming and funding a rent relief program. To stop mass evictions from happening during the current public health crisis we believe more must be done. As faith leaders, we come together to implore you to issue an executive order prohibiting residential evictions until a fully funded, robust rent relief program has been implemented.

Thank you for considering this urgent request.

 

* Clergy's institutions are listed for identification purposes only.

[1] Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, communities of color in Virginia were more likely to experience the violence of eviction. (Scroll to the section titled, "Housing." https://thehalfsheet.org/post/182762430038/racial-equity-impact-of-proposed-house-and-senate

[2] VDH Data Available by Race/Ethnicity: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covid-19-daily-dashboard/