FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — When COVID-19 hit, hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians lost their jobs and the only thing that has kept a roof over their heads is the federal eviction moratorium. But on June 30, that moratorium expires and evictions can proceed.
However, there is help for those who are behind on rent and/or utility payments. Kentucky's Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund has millions set aside to assist people.
"There is a lot of help available," said Gov. Andy Beshear. "The federal government sent Kentucky almost $300 million."
Kentucky received $297 million in federal funds for three relief programs: one in Lexington, one in Louisville, and one for the rest of the state. The Governor's Office says to date, more than $20.3 million has been paid out to help with more than 5,500 rent and utility payments.
$17.9 million went to 3,455 households to help with rent and $2.4 million went to 2,046 households to help with utilities, according to the Governor's Office.
The fund can cover up to 12 months of back rent and up to three months of future rent. That's up to 15 months of rent in total.
"This is a godsend," said Beshear. "Having 15 months of rent paid for, that's incredible. That means the entire pandemic that you've lived through, this is one piece of stress that's off your back."
The fund isn't just helpful for tenants. Landlords who have missed out on payments during the pandemic can also benefit from the program. Gov. Beshear said it's better than evicting someone and not getting any money.
"When you go through that eviction process, everybody loses. Everybody loses when it's over non-payment. The landlord doesn't end up with any dollars. The tenant is out of a house and owes money," said Beshear. "This is a chance for everybody to win."
However, there are two weeks remaining until the eviction moratorium expires. Can the state process the applications in time? According to the Governor's Office, Kentucky paid out more than $2 million from the Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund last week - an increase of 15% from the week before.
"We're hiring more and more people through the Kentucky Housing Corporation to help individuals that are out there," said Beshear. "So, if you put your application in, hang tight. We're working to get through it really quickly but making sure that all the boxes are checked and that we've done everything right."
If you live in Fayette County, you can apply at covid19renterhelp.org. If you live in Jefferson County, you can apply at stopmyeviction.org. If you live anywhere else in the state, you can apply at teamkyhherf.ky.gov.