COVID-19 Updates Archive - August 2020

  1. Aug. 31 Updates
  2. Aug. 25 Updates
  3. Aug. 21 Updates
  4. Aug. 20 Updates
  5. Aug. 18 Updates
  6. Aug. 14 Updates
  7. Aug. 13 Updates
  8. Aug. 12 Updates
  9. Aug. 11 Updates
  10. Aug. 7 Updates
  11. Aug. 5 Updates
  12. Aug. 4 Updates

Aug. 31, 2020 Update - 1 p.m.

Governor Northam Announces $4 Million to Expand Legal Aid Services for Virginians Facing Eviction
Governor will match $2 million IKEA donation with $2 million from Virginia’s COVID-19 Relief Fund

Governor Ralph Northam today announced $4 million in funding for the Legal Services Corporation of Virginia, which will support 20 Legal Aid attorneys in providing services to Virginia tenants facing eviction for the next two years. This critical investment comes as thousands of Virginians continue to be at risk of eviction and is supported in part by a $2 million donation from IKEA U.S. Community Foundation. The Governor will match the donation with $2 million from Virginia’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, which was approved by the General Assembly in April.

IKEA Retail U.S. has stores in Norfolk and Woodbridge and employs approximately 550 Virginians. As part of the company’s efforts to support COVID-19 recovery across the country, IKEA is providing partner states with a donation equal to the amount given to their employees in the form of unemployment benefits. Housing security continues to be a top priority for Virginia amid the ongoing public health crisis, and Governor Northam asked that the $2 million donation from IKEA to the Commonwealth be directed to support eviction relief.

IKEA has continued to follow Governor Northam’s orders to protect the health and safety of both employees and customers. After Governor Northam issued a statewide Stay at Home order, IKEA closed its two Virginia retail locations to keep their staff and customers safe. Now IKEA is giving back to ensure the Commonwealth has the funding to provide essential services and goods to those who need it most.  

This funding will be matched by $2 million from Virginia’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is supported by tax revenue from electronic skill machines. Governor Northam proposed this one-year alternative funding mechanism as a way of providing additional support to small businesses, Virginians who are out of work due to the pandemic, and individuals struggling to stay in their homes.

Although $1.5 million per year for Legal Aid was unallotted from Virginia’s biennial budget, this $4 million in funding will allow for additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Legal Aid attorneys play a critical role in eviction diversion in the Commonwealth—Virginia families facing eviction have successful outcomes 72 percent of the time when represented by Legal Aid lawyers, as opposed to just 34 percent without representation.

Governor Northam also established the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) with an initial $50 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds and proposed an additional $88 million in funding for the Housing Trust Fund over the biennium to prevent evictions and expand affordable housing. Since launching at the end of June, the RMRP has served more than 3,100 households in Virginia, and over 60 percent of the households served have children in the home.

The Legal Services Corporation of Virginia funds and oversees the work of nine regional Legal Aid programs and a statewide support center, the Virginia Poverty Law Center, that provide services to low-income Virginians in every city and county in the Commonwealth.

View the video of today’s announcement.

Read the full news release on the Virginia Governor Newsroom.

Aug. 31, 2020 Update - 9:45 a.m.

Chesterfield Launches ‘Lock and Talk’ Awareness Campaign for National Suicide Awareness Month
Campaign includes focus on coping with stress caused by COVID-19

In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month, Chesterfield County and the Chesterfield Suicide Awareness and Prevention Coalition is partnering with Lock and Talk Virginia to prevent suicide and promote wellness. 

Reducing the availability of highly lethal and commonly used suicide methods has been associated with declines in suicide rates of as much as 30-50 percent in other countries. 

The county’s suicide awareness partnership with Lock and Talk Virginia is more important now than ever, as thousands of residents and their families continue to cope with the stress and strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As people navigate economic stress, social isolation, reduced access to religious services and overall national anxiety, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported a spike in depression, stress and suicides across the U.S. since March. 

Chesterfield is working to prevent suicides by limiting access to firearms and poisons during a mental health crisis and educating members of the public on how to recognize and respond to the warning signs of suicide. Decreasing access to lethal means by securing them in a locking container coupled with having open and honest discussions about suicidal thoughts can save lives, reduce stigma and encourage those struggling with their mental health to seek help.

Means restriction is one of the few empirically-based strategies to substantially reduce the number of suicides. In addition, Chesterfield County offers a variety of programs to help citizens recognize and respond to many different types of mental health crises. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call Chesterfield Mental Health Emergency Services at 804-748-6356 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

For more information, visit Mental Health Support Services' Suicide Awareness Campaign

Read the full news release