NewsCovering Kentucky


Housing advocate on American Rescue Plan: 'Still uneasy until eviction moratorium is extended'

Posted at 11:43 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 23:43:09-05

(LEX 18) — Included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law Thursday is $50 billion in housing and homelessness assistance.

"We know that there's still a lot of hurt financially," said Whitney Reynolds, the director of development and grants management with the Housing and Homeless Coalition of Kentucky. "[The law] is starting to give a little bit of hope."

The housing assistance includes the following:
-$21.5 billion in rental assistance
-$5 billion in housing vouchers
-$10 billion in homeowner assistance
-$750 million for tribal nations

Reynolds said much of the spending for housing in the latest relief package mirrors what was included in the package passed last December.

However, during an interview with LEX18, Reynolds said there was a notable exception.

"We're still a little bit uneasy," she said. "Until an eviction moratorium gets extended."

The CDC eviction moratorium, which prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment, was originally implemented last September and extended under the COVID relief package passed at the end of last year. Because an extension was not included in the Rescue Plan, the moratorium is set to expire at the end of this month.

"That's really scary for many Kentuckians," Reynolds said.

One of those Kentuckians is Jesse Tingle, 30, who said her landlord is taking her to eviction court next week.

"My next option is living in my car," she said.

Tingle, who has three auto-immune disorders, has had trouble finding full-time work that would ensure she remains safe from the virus. She fell behind on rent last September, but has since secured a part-time job.

"They won't let me pay even the current month's rent unless I pay the entire past due balance," she said.

LEX18 called her apartment complex and was referred to the company's attorney. We left a voicemail for the attorney but have not heard back.

Reynolds said that while the moratorium has banned evictions for non-payment, landlords have been able to find loopholes.

"It's an intimidation technique where landlords are hoping and trying to intimidate folks by serving them eviction papers and hoping maybe they don't show up to court," she said.

Reynolds said that while advocates want to see a moratorium extended past the end of this month, they want a uniform ban that is more comprehensive.