Household assistance may be next city program to address coronavirus

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Household assistance … funds for rent, utilities, food and other necessities … would receive $3 million under Mayor Linda Gorton’s plan for allocating federal coronavirus relief funds.

The program would be similar in some ways to the $2.5 million small-business stimulus grant program the city implemented in July.

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“In the wake of this global pandemic, we have lots of needs, but I think it’s important to start with the basic necessities we’ve included in Household Assistance … shelter, food, utilities,” Gorton said. “We need to act quickly to get these funds to our citizens.”

City councilmembers endorsed $1.9 million for the Household Assistance plan immediately. Other proposals in Gorton’s plan will be discussed in a Council Committee of the Whole meeting on Aug. 27.

The City is eligible for a total of $25 million in the relief funds. So far, Lexington has qualified for $9.3 million in funding. The City must qualify for the funding through reimbursement for coronavirus-related expenses.

Gorton’s plan is focused on addressing the needs driven by the pandemic, rebuilding our economy, protecting the city’s financial structure and longstanding issues of inequity. It would allocate:

  • $1.5 million to expand emergency shelters for people who are homeless, and for affordable housing;
  • $2.2 million for direct reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses, such as personal protective equipment, telework computer support, facility alterations and cleaning;
  • $100,000 for opioid programming;
  • $125,000 for a disadvantaged business enterprise study;
  •  $50,000 for the Police After Action Citizen Review Board, a board Gorton is forming to improve police accountability; and
  • $450,000 Fifth and Chestnut Building and cost share RFP;
  • $6 million to the City’s Rainy day fund; and
  • $2.1 million to the Budget Stabilization Fund

Gorton’s plan for the federal dollars is based on community needs, and some on the City’s financial stability.