I’m Emma Anderson. I joined the KEJC team about six weeks ago to do housing outreach in Lexington. I work closely with Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, a longtime partner of KEJC.
Most days, you can find me knocking on doors to help tenants apply for housing stabilization money and in court to inform tenants about their rights in the eviction process.
Despite the continued presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, our neighbors are being evicted from their homes every day. For many tenants, it’s the first time dealing with housing instability. The city of Lexington received $20 million to help our neighbors pay rent. However, numerous barriers prevent tenants from accessing the money they need to stay in their homes. I get to work with tenants to tear down those barriers.
Outreach is essential to prevent evictions. Tenants appreciate having someone in their corner when faced with the terrifying and confusing reality of eviction. I recently met a mother who was in this situation. She got behind on her rent after being unable to work. Her children contracted COVID-19 weeks apart, requiring her to quarantine and to care for them for an extended period of time. She told me about how she’d called her property manager multiple times to explore her options, but no one picked up.
With her permission, I called her property manager. In my conversation with the property manager, I debunked myths about the city’s housing stabilization program and explained the process to her. The property manager agreed to accept the rental assistance. I continue to stand arm in arm with the tenant as she completes the rental assistance application and prepares to show up in court with the check in hand.
I hope that you’ll become a partner in this work. Outreach like this is helping to prevent homelessness in numbers that the city of Lexington is not prepared to address. Will you join me in stopping unnecessary evictions?
Housing Outreach Worker