‘A systemic problem’ — evictions continue in Kentucky’s Capitol City despite moratorium
Published 5:42 am Wednesday, May 19, 2021
For the past eight months there has been a national moratorium on evictions to curb both the spread and impact of COVID-19.
However, since that time more than 300 evictions have been filed in Franklin County. In 2020 there were 354 total evictions filed, compared to 642 in 2019, according to state data. More than 100 have been filed thus far in 2021.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a moratorium on evictions in September 2020. Through the pandemic, the moratorium was extended and is now set to expire June 30.
In Frankfort, community leaders and organizers pointed to loopholes in the moratoriums that allowed evictions to continue, and a systemic lack of public housing that has made finding a new home more difficult during the pandemic.
Natalee Cleveland, a community advocate who has lived in Frankfort essentially all of her life, worked with several renters who were evicted during the pandemic. At the time she said there was a lot of confusion and outrage that people were still being evicted despite federal and state actions to prevent it from happening.
The CDC moratorium only protects in cases of eviction due to non-payment. In several instances, Cleveland said an owner was able to still evict their tenants because of a change in ownership, or if a lease was up despite a tenant living there for years.
While tenants in those situations are often given 30 days’ notice, she cited a severe lack of affordable public housing that would make finding a new home in that period difficult for a low-income person.
Cleveland said that many of the eviction cases she’s noticed have taken place in historically Black communities.
“So many things had to be done to help this person who was trying to help themselves,” Cleveland said. “They’ve been working while the pandemic was going on … they’re doing everything they should do, but their house was being taken from underneath them with no help to find somewhere to go.”