Lexington mother says eviction process is confusing, barely avoids it herself

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Lexington mother says she and her son were too close to waking up homeless Tuesday morning and she’s confused about why, especially after the federal and state eviction moratoriums were just extended.

She’s one of several Kentuckians who say they’re trying to follow all the rules, but they’re still not sure they’ll be able to stay in their homes.

Now, the mother we talked to is living out of bags for fear of losing her home at any minute.

“I was so confused I didn’t know what to say what to do, where to move, where to go. It was very traumatizing and at this point I’m still kind of a little scared because I don’t know if they’d be back,” Yahieish said about her experience Monday morning.

She’s worried about someone retaliating against her for speaking out so we’re not using her last name and in the video we blurred her face.

Yahieish says she’s been out of two jobs over the course of the pandemic and though she’s tried she still hasn’t gotten unemployment.

She says asking for help has been embarrassing, but she’s doing it and thought she was following all the steps to avoid eviction.

“I’ve did everything anybody has asked me, anything ,any papers, I gotchu, any emails anything, I’m gonna send it I’m gonna do it,” she said.

Her eviction hearing was Dec. 4. She says showed up in person not knowing it was on Zoom and she didn’t have a phone or a laptop to tune in for her turn in court, meaning she was automatically marked for eviction.

Justice Walker with the Lexington Housing Justice Collective says there are loopholes and a lot to digest, like the fact the federal moratorium only protects someone who can’t pay because of the pandemic, it’s not automatically applied, you have to opt in. And once you do that it’s only a grace period, you still owe the rent.

“If you’ve been out of work you’re not going to make that money back in 30 days, right. So, we need more time, go way beyond Jan. 31, and we need a much better job of protecting people,” Walker said.

One of those ways LHJC says people could get more help is if Mayor Linda Gorton could sign her own eviction moratorium. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t allow it.

Yahieish says she’s going to do whatever she needs to to stay afloat, not only for herself, but mostly for her 11-year-old son.

“This is not how you should live, this is not how it should be. Your children should never grow up and have to wonder where are they going to go, or if you’re going to be put out on the street in a cold,” she said.

When we asked her son how he feels, he says they’re going to do what they can to make a comeback.

“I give her a hug, I say it’s going to be okay, ‘we gon’ get through this,’ and if I have to get some money, or give it to her, I will,” he said.

If you need rental assistance information in Lexington, click here and here for more resources.

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