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Interfaith group hosts rally after proposed Lexington budget includes cuts to affordable housing fund

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Posted at 10:37 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 07:18:13-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Over 150 cars parked outside of a Lexington church on Thursday night to call for a change to the mayor's proposed budget that includes a significant cut to the affordable housing fund.

Speakers called for a change to the FY2021 proposed budget that includes $200,000 for the fund compared to the $2 million its received in previous years.

The drive-in rally at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary was organized by B.U.I.L.D. or Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-Action. The group pushes for fair policies in the city.

"This is the best way we can find to publicly demonstrate that our community wants the affordable housing fund to stay funded as it is," Open Door Church Pastor Adam Jones said.

Last month, Mayor Linda Gorton unveiled what she called a "crisis budget" that included the cuts to the affordable housing fund.
It's a budget no one is happy with, she said, that requires common sacrifice due to the coronavirus pandemic. But speakers at the rally took issue with the steep cut to affordable housing, while other areas remained funded.

"Even you know extra police cars or the paving of roads, why are those things more important than the people we call our heroes?" said Father Dan Noll of Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary.

Some speakers said the cuts would put a hold on multiple affordable housing projects and could contribute to the city's homeless population.

The message of the rally has already been heard by some in city government. Vice Mayor Steve Kay spoke to the crowd and said he hopes the budget will be changed before it passes.

"With your support for all our efforts, I hold out a reasonable hope that this council will vote to restore full funding to the Affordable Housing Fund," he said.