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Lexington Council gets update on housing stabilization changes

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Stu Johnson
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Downtown Lexington

During the pandemic, Lexington has spent more than $41 million in direct rental and utility assistance. The city has almost $16 million left in federal funding. However, changes are coming next week to try to ensure the assistance is not depleted by this summer. City Council members were briefed Tuesday. Jonathan Wright is project director for the Housing Stabilization Program. Starting Monday, Wright said the people eligible for the program will be those who have an eviction case moving through district court.

“We’re targeting a smaller but higher risk group of people and just as importantly, if not more importantly, aiming to provide those folks with additional services over the course of the next year that are really aimed at promoting their housing stability,” said Wright.

The changes go into effect next week. Anyone with applications in this week are not impacted by changes. Council Member Tayna Fogle said high rent is a major concern today.

“I saw the utilities struck out. So, how will they get that money to pay the utilities? Who helps with the moving costs? I mean these are systemic issues that will take place. We don’t even want to get to eviction,” said Fogle.

Jonathan Wright, meanwhile, said emails will be going out this week to both tenants and landlords, explaining the changes in the program. Wright told Council he doesn’t anticipate any additional housing stabilization funding from the federal government.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.
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