FRANKFORT, Ky. (WOWK) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced the relaunching of the “Healthy at Home” Eviction Relief Fund on Thursday. This would provide Kentuckians with an additional $264 million in eviction relief.
“The Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund follows earlier, similar efforts to help our people stay in their homes, while also providing relief to landlords and utility companies,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is so important. With more Kentuckians rolling up their sleeves and receiving these safe and effective vaccines, we see the light at the end of the tunnel growing brighter by the day. But it will take months before everyone can receive their shot of hope, and until then, we need to ensure our people can stay healthy at home as much as possible.”
Tenants who qualify will be able to apply for rent and utility assistance, which would cover past-due as well as future bills, starting on February 15th. Lump-sum, direct payments will be made to landlords and utility providers on behalf of approved Kentuckians.
“Nearly a year into the pandemic, Kentuckians are still grappling with the economic effects of COVID-19,” said Winston Miller, KHC executive director. “This assistance will help keep renters housed, allow landlords to get substantial payments for back rent, and reduce the number of evictions in Kentucky courts.”
Recently, the U.S. Treasury Department allocated $297 million in coronavirus relief funds to the state of Kentucky, specifically to help those economically impacted by COVID-19. These funds will be distributed through three separate programs:
- For 118 counties other than Fayette and Jefferson
- To apply in Fayette County
- To apply in Jefferson County
Each fund will offer the same benefits, including providing 100% of past-due rent back as far as April 2020 and up to three months of payments in the future.
“Throughout the pandemic, many households have struggled with expenses,” said Wendy Smith, KHC’s deputy director of housing programs. “This essential eviction relief can help renters get caught up on rent and utilities.”
The new fund’s structure and requirements are similar to those of the original Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund.
The Governor also asked landlords and utility companies to please exercise patience with low-income tenants who are behind on payments.
“If a tenant is evicted, this fund cannot cover past-due bills. If the utility gets shut off, we won’t be able to get a prompt direct payment to the utility,” said Gov. Beshear.
Beshear also announced that a third party (family, friend, fellow church member, caseworker, community organization staff member, etc.) can help tenants apply if they don’t have access to a smartphone or a computer. Elderly or disabled Kentuckians can also use third party assistance.
A detailed description of the program can be found at teamkyhherf.ky.gov.