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Southwood tenants protest eviction notices

 by Chris Suarez/Richmond Times-Dispatch

A day after appearing in a Richmond city court for allegedly failing to pay his rent, Douglas Hernandez on Tuesday led dozens of his neighbors in a protest against the potential evictions they are facing.

In interviews and speeches, many of them described how they owe thousands in back rent for their apartments at The Communities at Southwood, a nearly 1,300-unit apartment complex that’s home to more than 3,000 people and the city’s largest concentration of Latino residents.

Tenants of The Communities at Southwood in Richmond marched alongside organizers from New Virginia Majority on Tuesday to protest pending eviction notices as well as large back rent bills. 

A spokesman for the property management company said it is hoping to avoid evictions by offering relief options, but residents and organizers said there are still issues that need to be resolved.

Over the past few months, the protesters said, representatives of the property management company told them that they had applied for state rent relief on their behalf and wouldn’t need to pay rent, even if they had enough to cover it. So, they didn’t.

Then the eviction notices started coming in.

“There’s so many other families that are in the same situation,” said Hernandez, 29. “I used to go [to the administrative office] every month, and they would just tell me to wait. They’re now sending everybody to court because they want money.”

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