LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Housing advocates protested outside Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton's house Wednesday night as they continued to urge the mayor to implement a ban on evictions through the end of the spring.
"We need a local eviction moratorium," said Katie Kilcoyne of the Lexington Housing Justice Collective. "We don't just need rental assistance because that is not buying people enough time to secure their homes."
The latest federal COVID-19 relief package provided $25 billion in rental assistance and extended the CDC moratorium on evictions for nonpayment until the end of January.
That moratorium was previously set to expire at the end of December, but the latest extension leaves tenants wondering how long the can will be kicked down the road.
"It's very scary," said Shaye Awwad, who spoke to LEX 18 before the car caravan outside Mayor Gorton's house.
Awwad is one of millions of Americans struggling to pay rent. Without a job due to the pandemic, she said her landlord brought her to eviction court in September, but the case fizzled out when the CDC moratorium was instituted that month.
If the moratorium is not extended beyond this month, Awwad is worried she will be in jeopardy.
"It's just been a snowball effect and a cavalcade of problems that has all amounted to this situation right now," she said.
In a response to LEX 18 Wednesday, a spokesperson for the mayor said Mayor Gorton and the council "do not have the legal authority to issue a moratorium on evictions."
The spokesperson said the mayor plans to meet with members of the Lexington House Justice Collective on January 21.