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Relief funds available for Kentucky landlords, renters hit by COVID-19

Gov. Andy Beshear has announced the launch of the Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund website, teamkyhherf.ky.gov, where Kentuckians now can visit and apply for assistance.

“As we continue to wage this battle against COVID-19, we must make sure renters have a home so they can be Healthy at Home, while also safeguarding landlords against undue financial hardship,” the Governor said. “When we come out of this global health crisis, we don’t want Kentuckians facing such insurmountable debt from their housing situation that they are unable to recover. This program will provide some much-needed relief to eligible tenants and property owners during these unprecedented times.”

Kentuckians can visit the site to seek information on how to obtain a portion of $15 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act money the Governor pledged to support the Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund. Details of the application of the funds include:

  •   Eligible landlords can be reimbursed for missed rent payments and receive some advance rent payments to keep tenants in their homes;
  •   For eligible tenants, the program pays up to 90 percent of past-due rent and may also cover up to two months of future rent;
  •   For approved applications, payments will be made directly to eligible landlords; and
  •   Kentuckians may submit applications beginning, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.

On Friday, Gov. Beshear, who has taken repeated steps to keep people from being evicted at the height of the pandemic, updated the state’s executive order on evictions to reflect the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on residential evictions through Dec. 31.

Under the CDC order, a tenant who signs and submits a declaration to his or her landlord about the inability to timely pay rent cannot be evicted. However, the declaration is required in order to prevent an eviction. Like the Governor’s prior executive orders on evictions, the CDC order does not relieve anyone of the obligation to pay rent or comply with any other obligation under a tenancy, lease or similar contract. The CDC order allows landlords to charge and collect fees, penalties and interest for failure to timely pay rent, but prohibits evictions for nonpayment or late payment of such fees, penalties or interest.

The Governor also reminded Kentuckians of other programs helping Kentuckians pay rent, including the Team Kentucky Fund and the Louisville/Jefferson County Eviction Prevention COVID-19 Relief Fund.

The Kentucky Supreme Court has issued the following orders (2020-59 and 2020-64) establishing the Jefferson County Eviction Diversion Pilot Project and the procedure for eviction proceedings in courts. Until the Court issues a new order, these are controlling.

Kentuckians seeking legal assistance can contact the Kentucky COVID-19 Legal Helpline or call toll-free: 833-540-0342. The service is sponsored by Kentucky’s Access to Justice Commission and the four Kentucky civil legal aid programs, AppalReD Legal Aid, Kentucky Legal Aid, Legal Aid of the Bluegrass and Legal Aid Society.

Lawyers who want to volunteer to provide direct legal assistance to Kentuckians in need during the pandemic can visit Together Lawyers Can.

On March 25, Gov. Beshear initially suspended evictions as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

More information about eligibility and how to apply is available at teamkyhherf.ky.gov.

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