Total Action for Progress prepares for COVID-19 emergency rent relief program funding to end

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 5:51 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The national COVID-19 emergency order is ending May 11, and that means the end of funding for some local programs.

Roanoke’s Total Action for Progress (TAP) won’t be getting any more federal funding for its eviction prevention services, rent relief programs and some veterans’ services. The City of Roanoke-funded Eviction Prevention Services will be closing, the Department of Health Emergency COVID Assistance program in Alleghany County, Covington and Craig County will end, and Supportive Services for Veterans Families will see a decrease in funding.

The director for TAP This Valley Works explained families should start planning ahead for when the funding ends in June.

“We got very comfortable living in crisis management, so now we have to figure out how to normalize and how to plan ahead and how to problem-solve without all the emergency federal money coming down,” Jo Nelson said.

In the last nine months, TAP helped 229 families with more than $500,000 in COVID relief. The emergency funding helped Taylor Yopp when the bills got too high.

“I was really worried that I was gonna end up going into collections, and I was kind of out of options at that point,” Yopp said. “It helped me tremendously.”

Yopp explained the funding ending will effect dozens of families struggling to afford rent.

”I definitely couldn’t have done it without them. All my bills are paid on time and I’m not having to struggle, it was definitely life-changing,” Yopp said. “I was on the verge of being homeless so I think we’re unfortunately going to probably see that more often now.”

TAP is working with local shelters and non-profits to still help clients once the funding runs out.

“We all had a lot more money during COVID; all of us are winding down our funds,” Nelson said. “There are still resources out there, but you really need to plan ahead, work now to figure out what you need.”

Several organizations have already started donating to TAP to help the hundreds of families who rely on rent relief.

“The affordable housing crisis is going to take years for us to get out of it,” Nelson said. “We could not only be talking about current adults coming to us, but it could be their children facing the housing crisis, too.”

If you’re struggling to pay your bills, TAP said you should still contact them for help because there may be other programs you qualify for.

TAP isn’t accepting any more applications for the COVID relief programs, but will continue working with families who already applied.