“There is money out there to help Kentuckians behind on their rent and on their utilities,” Gov. Beshear said.
Yet, tenant advocate groups are critical.
“The numbers are showing us that money is getting but it’s slow to get out,” said Whitney Reynolds, the director of development and grants management with the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky.
Lexington city officials acknowledge the process is taking a long time. They report the city has received 4,500 eviction relief applications but only 600 have been processed.
“We had to have time to hire and train staff and purchase software and build an application and build infractions. In the time it took to do that, we already had thousands of people needing assistance,” said Charlie Lanter, the director of grants and special programs of LFUCG.
The Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky is concerned that come July 1, families struggling to pay rent will be thrown out in the streets.
“We know that vaccination numbers are not as high as we would like them to be so folks still need a home to be healthy. You can’t be healthy at home if you don’t have one,” Reynolds said.
But Attorney Stephen Marshall, who represents landlords, says that won’t be the case.
“Some landlords want to actually remove their tenant when they file an eviction, but the majority simply want to get paid,” Marshall said.
While some organizations are calling for an extension on the eviction moratorium, Marshall says that could force some landlords to go out of business.
“When that shrinks, that means there’s less supply, which means those landlords still in the game are able to raise rent and hurt affordable housing,” Marshall said.
He says evictions cost landlords money and most would prefer some payment on rent, if not the full amount.
“Landlords aren’t in the business of turning away money. A lot times that will be enough to stay,” Marshall said.
Marshall advises tenants to reach out to an attorney to explore their options or if they feel their rights are being violated.