Gov. Andy Beshear has announced new funding measures to prevent evictions in Kentucky during the pandemic.
At Monday’s press briefing, Beshear outlined the “Healthy at Home Eviction Fund.” The $15 million plan was activated through an executive order, and the money will come from federal coronavirus relief funds.
Kentuckians cannot be “healthy at home without a home”, Beshear said. The eviction crisis has loomed over both renters and landlords in the months since the coronavirus pandemic reached the state.
In that time, Beshear has identified three major concerns.
“Number one, wanting to make sure that people aren’t out on the street,” he said. “Number two, wanting to make sure that these landlords aren’t bankrupted and are also being treated fairly. Number three, making sure that as people come out of this, they don’t have so much debt from their housing situation that they can’t ever dig out. We want a fair system that tries to address all three of these.”
The executive order provides an allotted amount of time before the eviction process can move forward. Landlords must give tenants 30 days’ notice of a pending eviction for nonpayment of rent.
The landlord and tenant are required to meet within that 30 days to try to come to an agreement. No penalties, late fees or interest can be charged from March 6 through Dec. 31.
“The fund will be another source of aid to help people in these negotiations to provide some relief to keep them in their homes,” Beshear said. “It will reimburse eligible landlords for missed rent payments, give them some advanced rent and keep tenants in that home where they can be safe and healthy.”
The fund will be used in all Kentucky counties except Jefferson, which already has a similar fund. Kentuckians can submit applications starting Sept. 8. Beshear said he will outline the application process in the coming days. He encouraged those with questions to call the Kentucky COVID-19 Legal Aid Helpline at (833) 540-0342, or visit www.kycovidlegalhelp.org.
Beshear also announced a COVID-19 cluster at Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center in Hazard. Nine veterans and one staff member have tested positive.
“This is our first veterans center with an extensive outbreak,” Beshear said. “Thankfully, the cases are still confined to one hallway of one unit. All veteran cases trace to one transport aide who has left the hospital and is recovering at home. In an overabundance of caution, all positive veterans have been sent to Appalachian Regional Healthcare, and they’ve agreed to keep them until either a negative test or 14 days has passed.”
The state reported 373 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths on Monday. A total of 43,899 Kentuckians have tested positive since the onset of the pandemic.