Unemployment in Kentucky has hit unprecedented levels, and assistance is falling behind with many people waiting weeks for their money. That makes paying rent especially challenging during the coronavirus pandemic.
There is currently a moratorium on evictions in Kentucky due to the high rate of unemployment and the risk of people not being able to stay safe at home if they’re evicted.
Senior Litigation and Advocacy Counsel at the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, Ben Carter said if people aren’t going to be able to pay their rent, the first thing they need to do is communicate with their landlord. He said Kentucky has some of the most robust protections for renters in the country.
“That's really because both our governor and the Kentucky Supreme Court understand that it is not safe for people to be moving right now,” he said. “Evictions are disruptive in normal circumstances, and they're downright dangerous at a moment like this.”
Carter said even before the global pandemic hit, most people weren’t financially prepared for a crisis and the stimulus checks sent out by the federal govenment aren’t enough.
“Whether you call it a rent strike or what, from my perspective, the federal government needs to start providing rental assistance. Fast and for a long time, and it needs to be generous,” he said.
Carter clarified neither he or the Kentucky Equal Justice Center are encouraging rent strikes. He said a more elegant solution would be for the federal government to provide financial help for renters who need it.
The Kentucky Supreme Court is not accepting any new eviction filings until at least the end of June.
This story has been updated.