LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) — Every other year, April 1 is a day for jokes, pranks and laughs. This year the humor is hard to find as many in Kentucky don’t have enough money to pay rent.
For many in the state, they were denied unemployment others not even receiving a stimulus check.
Shantee Tullar says her phone inside Lexington’s Fair Housing Council has been ringing more this month than ever before. The council works to find solutions for tenants and landlords as well as tackle housing discrimination.
She’s already handling situations where landlords have shut off electric and moved a tenant out of an apartment. She says it’s time for everyone to come together for one common purpose.
“We’re talking about veterans, we’re talking about people with kids, we’re talking about your grandparents,” said Tullar.
The Kentucky Surpreme Court made the decision Wednesday to temporarily not accept eviction filings until further notice. Governor Andy Beshear says it was a move needed to keep everyone in their home during the pandemic.
“Right now, during this period, you cannot be evicted,” Governor Beshear told the public during a news conference Wednesday. “Don’t let anyone tell you that’s possible. If you are threatened with eviction it is illegal right now in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to evict you for failure to pay rent.”
The Governor is advising anyone that can pay rent to continue to make the payments. A landlord does have the right to make a tenant back-pay on missed payments.
Tullar says her worry isn’t tenants getting by with no payment now but down the road when rent is due and evictions are once again legal.
“What do we do when things do return back to normal? I think everyone’s primary fear is how long is this going to last.”
She says resources are available. Some of those resources are listed at the bottom of this story. However, there’s an adjustment period that many organizations are trying to grasp. She says the need is great but not enough help is currently on the table.
“This whole thing presents a situation that none of us have ever faced before so there are definitely individuals that are slipping through the cracks and often it’s the most vulnerable.”
Meanwhile, the federal government is working to add $600 to unemployment checks for many.
Tullar encourages the public who needs help to not give up and keep reaching out to organizations that can help. She encourages anyone needing to report a landlord attempting to evict a tenant to call the COVID 19 reporting line at 1-833-597-2337.
Organizations that may be able to help
Greenhouse 17- Domestic violence 1-800-544-2022
Community Action (Lex) 859-233-4600
COVID 19 resource line 1-800-722-5725
COVID 19 reporting line 1-833-597-2337
Lexington Fair Housing Council 859-971-8067 xt. 101
Know more organizations that can help? Email our newsroom at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nick Oliver at Nick.Oliver@wkyt.com.