Helping our Neighbors Stay in Their Homes

As COVID-19 continues to impact the economic circumstances of individuals and families globally, Community Action Council is proud to be a key partner in a newly formed local coalition to combat a secondary crisis related to the global pandemic: a housing crisis due to mass evictions.

Results from a recent survey of local landlords and property owners in Lexington, Kentucky, published in an article in the Lexington Herald Leader on May 15, 2020, show that almost 70 percent of landlords who responded to the survey have at least one tenant under the threat of eviction once the statewide moratorium is lifted—likely July 1, 2020. We know that many landlords are also feeling the financial stress as many Lexington property owners are unable to go longer than three months without income from their properties without jeopardizing—or worse—the mortgages and costs they incur for staffing.

The overarching goal of this newly-formed housing coalition is to leverage the resources contributed by tenants, landlords and human service organizations to create a comprehensive approach to eliminating the threat of eviction for households, and not simply reducing the threat for one month. By utilizing resources across the community, we can help provide long term solutions to allow families and individuals time to adjust and become self-sufficient again without the threat of eviction hanging over them. 

The Council will play a key role in this coalition to avoid massive, community-wide evictions in Lexington. Using funding received from the CARES Act along with private contributions, the Council is supporting a multi-tiered systems approach in which income-eligible renters in need of assistance can identify their need and what type of support they are seeking and get matched by trained staff with a service organization(s) that can best address individual need or provide additional assistance.

While many households may need financial assistance, we know that some tenants may be facing eviction struggles for the first time and may not understand their rights. The Council and partners will be supporting the community not just by providing some rental assistance, but also by working alongside tenants and landlords to increase their knowledge about each of their rights and offering mediation support. A proxy goal of this effort is to mitigate the long-term effects of eviction for renters, as a court ordered eviction may tarnish a tenant’s credit and make finding a new home increasingly difficult.

Among the partners for this new initiative are the Council, the Lexington Fair Housing Council, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s Division of Social Services and Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention, Volunteers of America, Urban League of Lexington-Fayette, the Greater Lexington Landlord Association, and others.

Thank you for helping us help others. 

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