‘It takes a toll on you mentally:’ Affordable housing issues continue in Lexington

A Lexington mother and her children still have a place to call home after facing an eviction, however, an extension will only get her through September...
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 10:52 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Lexington mother and her children still have a place to call home after facing an eviction, however, an extension will only get her through September, as she looks for a new place to live.

There are still setbacks for Davita Gatewood. She said she has been declined assistance from the housing authority, who has been helping her with rent.

Gatewood fights every day to give her family a good home.

“My children are in excellent schools, they’re thriving academically, athletically, socially. I’m going to fight to stay in Fayette County,” Gatewood said.

It’s a fight that Gatewood has been putting up for months, as she looks for affordable housing.

“Four bedrooms are like dinosaurs. They’re extinct right now. Or they are ridiculously priced and no one can afford them,” Gatewood said.

Gatewood’s landlord recently gave her an extension to stay in her home until September. She said the housing authority has declined to help her pay rent, which she said they were already doing.

“It’s like you get help, and you’re getting your situation worked out, and then they pose an obstacle, and they’re supposed to be there to help us. How is it that I’m accountable, and I have to pay my portion, but you can just not pay yours?” Gatewood said.

Gatewood has been working with the Lexington Tenants Union, which is a group that fights for tenants’ rights. They said there are many families facing the same crisis as Gatewood.

“It’s just precarity after precarity. There’s not anything stable about this. There’s no way to be at peace when you depend on an agency to send your money for your rent,” said Andrea Zang with the Tenants Union.

“I talk to people on a regular basis who are in this situation, and they’re miserable. It takes a toll on you mentally. It was very hard for me to enjoy the whole process of my son graduating and all the good things happening, because you’re wondering in a few weeks, you don’t have a home,” Gatewood said.

It’s ticking clock that Gatewood worries many other families are racing against, with few answers as to how to buy more time, or an affordable home.

We reached out to Lexington’s commissioner of Housing Advocacy and Community Development, Charlie Lanter, to clarify the issues Gatewood is facing.

He says he and his staff have explained to Gatewood several times that the LFUCG has no authority over the Housing Authority which is a separate government agency from the city.

The LFUCG does not operate the Housing Choice Voucher program and they don’t have any programmatic involvement or control in it.

Lanter says his office has, been attempting to help Gatewood “above and beyond our normal roles” going back to December 2021.

Get the WKYT News app on ROKU, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.
Get the WKYT News app on ROKU, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.(WKYT)

Copyright 2022 WKYT. All rights reserved.