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Group holds rally in Lexington to call for extended hold on evictions during pandemic

Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 11:48 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - At his Monday afternoon press conference, Governor Andy Beshear announced the framework for his Healthy at Home Eviction Fund.

Earlier in the day, the Lexington Housing Justice Collective hosted the first of two anti-eviction rallies in downtown Lexington.

“We have hundreds of people who may be put on the street during a global pandemic and economic downturn,” said rally organizer Justice Walker.

Our homes are often our sanctuaries, but amidst the ongoing pandemic and shutdowns, they’ve often also turned into office spaces and classrooms.

The governor’s Healthy at Home Eviction Fund aims to help Kentuckians stay in their homes. Beshear says no one can be healthy at home without a home.

Walker says there will be 300 eviction hearings within the next two weeks. Walker helped organize the Monday morning’s rally that was near held the Fayette District

“I’ve personally lived in unsafe housing before. I’ve had to deal with no heater during the three months of winter. I’ve lived without ac during the summer. I’ve lived it and I haven’t even had it the worst out of everyone that I organized with,” Walker said.

Protesters held signs, chanted and asked Governor Beshear to cancel rent, mortgage and debt payments.

But the landlords have bills they have to pay too, so financially how will canceling the rent work?

”It’s really a call for the federal government to step and in and make sure that landlords are able to stay in business while people are able to stay healthy at home,” said Ben Carter, an attorney with the Kentucky Equal Justice Center.

For the governor’s Healthy at Home Eviction Fund, the commonwealth is using $15 million in CARES Act money to reimburse landlords for missed rent payments.

Some other requirements under the governor’s order: landlords have to give tenants 30 days notice, the landlord and tenant must meet and confer, and the landlord can’t charge late fees or interest from the beginning of the pandemic through December 31.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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