Lexington facing potential homelessness crisis amid affordable housing shortage

Lexington facing potential homelessness crisis amid affordable housing shortage
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 4:17 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Affordable housing is hard to come by in much of the country.

It’s no different in Lexington and the pandemic only made it worse.

Barbara Stamper is going through her receipts, looking over papers and wondering why she’s being evicted from her Lexington home.

“I got notice on the front door to vacate. No reason explained except for non-renewable lease,” Stamper said.

After going to court on September 29, she was told she had one week to leave. That means she now has less than 72 hours to move out of the place she has lived in for more than six years.

“She told me now, just a few minutes ago, that I had to be out by Friday, which is this week. Or they would set my stuff out in the street,” Stamper said.

Stamper isn’t the only person with an eviction notice on her door. Ginny Ramsey at the Catholic Action Center says people have been walking through the center with the same concerns.

“We’ve been doing this for 23 years and we’ve never seen it as bad as it is now as far as those who are without housing,” Ramsey said.

Stamper says it feels like she’s being treated like a bank statement, even though she says she’s never even missed a rent payment.

“Very sad and very upsetting. I mean, that’s just your whole world. It’s turned upside down. And, you know, where do I go from here when you’re supposed to feel safe and enjoying your community,” said Stamper.

Ramsey says many of the affordable housing options and shelters are already full in the city. She says if action is taken soon, this will become an even bigger problem in the winter.

The city is working on ways to address the issue and help families. According to city officials, this is a list of some of the help that is available:

  • $41M in ERA funding for the Housing Stabilization Program, which has assisted 1 out of every 13 renter households in Lexington
  • $4M in ARPA funding for a Transitional Housing Pilot Program
  • $2.3M in ARPA funding for new/non-traditional shelter capacity
  • $2.25M in ARPA funding for OHPI
  • $1.55M in ARPA funding for other affordable housing investments and shelter capacity for at-risk populations
  • $440K in ARPA funding for Emergency Financial Assistance for residents
  • $600K in ARPA funding for Code Enforcement Repair Assistance for low-income homeowners
  • $2M in ARPA funding committed to the Salvation Army
  • $2M in ARPA funding committed to the Hope Center
  • Created Department of Housing Advocacy & Community development in FY22, appointed Commissioner, hired staff

Lexington officials also added a total of $12 million to the Affordable Housing Fund this year. Their hope is to create and preserve affordable housing in Lexington, but some renters in the city are losing their homes and say more needs to be done.