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WKYT Investigates: The costs of COVID on renters and landlords

There are renters still struggling to make ends meet, and landlords now trying to break even in their investments.
Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 4:55 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The pandemic has been hard on thousands of Kentuckians. There are renters still struggling to make ends meet, and landlords now trying to break even in their investments.

Brandi Ashcraft worked in the hotel industry for five years before COVID-19 hit Kentucky.

“Lost a job. Not being able to pay rent, not being able to pay anything. Trying to find a job, it’s scarce out there due to the corona,” says Ashcraft. “I do have a past, that’s 17 years ago, it keeps haunting me, my background. Every time I get a job they let me go. I go try for another job, they let me go.”

Ashcraft has applied for jobs and for government assistance.

“You know when people be like, ‘I don’t know what to do. I’m at the end of my rope.’ That’s how I felt about four months ago. It’s like never-ending for me. I’m stressed out, depressed, can’t do the things I used to do, and it’s just hard.”

Ashcraft’s next door neighbor, Sherman Landrum, has even tried to help. Landrum is retired. He owns four homes on his street, including Ashcraft’s. He’s collecting rent on two.

“We worked on the computer the other day for two or three hours trying to get information for different places that she’s put applications in,” noted Landrum. “I try to at least make my maintenance and make my taxes and my insurance because it’s not gonna do me any good if there ain’t nobody in it.”

Landrum has no plans to evict Ashcraft, even when the federal moratorium on evictions does lift. Currently, it’s set to expire at the end of the month. Ashcraft recently got a job at a factory, and soon, she hopes to pay off a portion of the $5,000 she owes her neighbor.

For some renters, there is state funding now available. State leaders recently received close to $3 million in federal funds to help with rent and utility payments. They’ve set up three application sites, based on region.

To apply for assistance in the Lexington/Fayette County area, visit covid19renterhelp.org.

To apply for assistance in the Lousiville/Jefferson County area, visit stopmyeviction.org.

If you live anywhere else in the state, visit teamkyhherf.ky.gov.

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