Renter Help program for tenants worried about eviction

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — The Greater Lexington Apartment Association says 30% of landlords have many tenants already near eviction.

The governor suspended evictions during the coronavirus pandemic but at some point, they will start again. Housing groups say it could be as early as July. That has big ramifications.

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“People who are impacted and have affordable housing and they lose it, we’re gonna see a greater number of people experiencing homelessness come September and October,” says Ginny Ramsey, director of the Catholic Action Center.

To get ahead of the curve, the Catholic Action Center, the Fair Housing Council, the Apartment Association and others have created the COVID-19 Renter
Help Program.

“This is to provide a mediation between the landlord and the tenant, so that they can work together and figure out a way to keep people in their homes,” says Brenda Wells, executive director of the Greater Lexington Apartment Association.

Gabriela is one of those in the crosshairs. She lost her job in March and hasn’t received an unemployment check.

“As a single mom of a six-year-old, you don’t know what to do. You’re hopeless. I will fight for my place to stay because it’s not that I don’t want to pay, ya know, I want to pay because it’s my child’s home,” says Gabriela.

It’s been almost three months since she’s paid rent. Her landlord has used the ‘e’ word.

“No one should be kicked out. We didn’t plan to be in this situation,” says Gabriela.

Wells says landlords aren’t the bad guys. They have payroll, taxes, maintenance to pay, too.

“It’s a downward spiral that could be, it could continue to get worse as long as this lasts,” says Wells.

That’s where ‘Renters’ Help’ comes in. It answers questions about renters’ rights, how to talk with the landlord and where people might get help. The idea is to face some parts of the eviction crisis now, rather than later.

“The social service groups and the churches do have funds that are set up to help with the rental and utility assistance,” says Ramsey.

To get help and learn more about the program, click here.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.