Lexington’s rent assistance program praised

A recent report published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition ranks Lexington among the top local grantees nationwide for paying rent and utility bills for residents who need help, Mayor Linda Gorton said today.

Pointing to local grantees in Kentucky, including Lexington, the Coalition’s November report on Emergency Rental Assistance Spending and Performance Trends states, “administrators, policymakers and advocates should learn from these examples to better understand how these programs were able to mobilize so quickly and maintain that momentum for subsequent months. Kentucky’s programs benefitted from quick capacity building and strong partnerships with courts.”

Gorton said Lexington’s success is based on hard work. “At one time we had as many as 70 City and Community Action Council staff members working very hard to help those requesting assistance with rent and utilities,” Gorton said.

Lexington’s Housing Stabilization Program started in September 2020 with an investment of $1.4 million from the City’s General Fund. The federal government has provided $17.3 million in funding and an additional $11.7 million was provided by the state through Team Kentucky’s Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund. In all, the program has received $30.4 million in support. Of that, over $15 million in rental and utility assistance payments have been distributed on behalf of Lexington residents.

Recently, the City turned day-to-day operation of the program over to the Community Action Council. “I am confident Community Action Council will continue the success of the program into the future,” Gorton said. “We are so thankful for their expertise in this field, and for our other community partners. It took team work to make this program successful.”

Lexington’s Housing Stabilization Program benefited from a close collaboration among Fayette District Court Judges, Team Kentucky, landlords, non-profit partners, the Urban League of Lexington,  Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, utilities, and, especially, Community Action Council. Lexington, Louisville, and Kentucky Housing Corporation collaborated from the beginning to develop a program that is largely consistent across the state.

Those needing assistance through the Housing Stabilization Program can find resources by visiting www.covid19renterhelp.org, calling Community Action Council at 859-280-8424, or emailing housingstabilization@lexingtonky.gov.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is a national leader in the effort to address the housing needs of those with the lowest incomes.