Lexington’s Housing Stabilization Program is expanding services for tenants facing eviction to include mediation with landlords, and access to legal counsel.
“The services we are adding today, including outreach, mediation and access to counsel, will keep more people in their homes, and help others relocate to more sustainable housing,” Mayor Linda Gorton said.
The new services will be operated in a partnership with Legal Aid of the Bluegrass and Kentucky Equal Justice Center, which together are receiving $1.9 million in one-time federal funds to continue this program while funds are available.
“Research shows that tenants get better outcomes when they have access to legal representation and mediation services,” said Charlie Lanter, Commissioner for Housing Advocacy & Community Development. “Coupled with our remaining work in rent assistance, these initiatives will expand our ability to prevent evictions.”
The Housing Stabilization Program has provided $46.5 million of assistance to 6,337 Lexington households and 1,100 landlords since its inception in February 2021. The one-time emergency federal program was designed to provide assistance to those at risk of losing their housing during the pandemic.
Services will begin in one division of Fayette District Court, and expand as the programs hire and train new staff. The initiative was developed from a pilot project run in coordination with Fayette District Court Judge Denotra Gunther, who has been heavily involved in the planning.
“The Kentucky Equal Justice Center’s Housing Justice Team is looking forward to this opportunity to expand our current outreach and organizing efforts in Fayette County," said Stefanie Ebbens Kingsley, the center’s Housing Justice Attorney. "This is a unique opportunity to assist local tenants in finding essential safety net resources, including increased access to legal representation in eviction court. This will be a game-changer when it comes to ensuring tenants facing eviction have equitable access to justice.”
More information is available at lexingtonky.gov/renthelp.