The City Council voted Monday to amend and renew a grant agreement to fund the Charlottesville Supplemental Rental Assistance Program.
CSRAP is a program run by the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority that provides vouchers to people who need help paying their rent.
The program is similar to the federal Housing Choice Voucher program. $900,000 from the city’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget will be allocated to the CRHA on July 1 to help fund the program.
The terms of the agreement state that funding must be used exclusively by the CRHA to provide rental assistance subsidies to individuals who are part of Extremely Low-Income to Low-Income Households, defined as those households earning less than 60% of Area Median Income as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development annually within the city of Charlottesville, including those who are homeless, elderly and/or disabled individuals or those enrolled in a self-sufficiency program.
The council also voted to increase the Fair Market Rent amount for the city in the agreement to 125%.
Households receiving a CSRAP voucher are required to contribute 30% of their monthly gross income toward rent each month.
John Sales, executive director of the CRHA, said there are 122 families on the waiting list to receive CSRAP assistance and no new families are being processed for eligibility for the program at this time, to ensure funding is available for current participants.
“We do need to figure out a time limit of assistance. There aren’t any guidelines on how long someone can be assisted in the program, but without adding a whole lot of new funding, you’re always going to be assisting the same families,” Sales said.
“The city will at some point need to add more dollars to help more families, or put term limits to your assistance. So that’s a conversation that I think should start to happen, because we have been doing the program for a couple years. We do need to figure out what those regulations are,” he said.
Mayor Nikuyah Walker said she wants to look into additional ways to fund CSRAP so that the CRHA can add more households to the program while still providing assistance to those already in the program.
As of May 12, there are 70 households enrolled in CSRAP and 68 are receiving supplemental rental assistance payments.
Thirty-six of 68 households receiving supplemental assistance, or 57%, live in Charlottesville and 32 of 68 households receiving supplemental assistance, or 43%, work in the city but live in Albemarle County.
One of the goals of the program is to help people who work in Charlottesville to afford to live within the city limits.
Thirty-five households were considered homeless when they entered the program.
The City Council approved the creation of a supplemental rental assistance program in June 2017. In October 2017, the council approved CSRAP and funding for the program. The grant agreement between the city and the CRHA was executed in January 2018. The first voucher was issued in April 2018.
In 2020, the City Council approved an amendment to the agreement to allow for administrative costs to be included from the program funding, due to concerns from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.