LEXINGTON, Ky. — In Lexington, over three hundred evictions were filed for the month of December in 2021 and one Kentucky organization is working to help residents change that.
Stephanie Hensley has lived in this apartment for nearly two months, and says it’s been one thing after another.
“You can see we have a hole right there. We have open wires, like I said, I have a two-year-old and a newborn baby,” Hensley said.
She says finding affordable housing in Lexington within a safe area was difficult.
“That runs through my head all the time. What if something happens? What if some person lost their mind or went crazy, shoots a gun and it goes through my window and hits my kids,” Hensley said.
Hensley is a part of an organization called Kentucky Tenants in Lexington working to fight for tenants’ rights.
“The fridge didn’t work, the AC cut out, I got shot in my leg. The stress of this place gave me a heart attack. I’m 28 years old,” Hensley said.
Kentucky Tenants eviction data from Fayette County District Court says 295 of the 322 evictions filed in December 2021 were for failure to pay rent, making 92% of those cases.
“If I don’t pay it in seven days, then I’ll have to pay a court fee. If I don’t pay that court fee, then I’m out on the street with my kids,” Hensley said.
Kentucky Tenants are looking for Lexington Urban City Council to implement a Tenants Bill of Rights.
This bill would hold landlords accountable by using a landlord registry, and have stronger eviction protections for tenants.
“We have to fix everything ourselves, which is even more stressful. It has to come out of our pocket. It has to come from our money that is for diapers, wipes and formula and food for kids,” Hensley said.
And Hensley says alongside this organization she wants to bring awareness in Lexington, while providing a safe home for her children.
Kentucky Tenants are asking for opportunities in this upcoming election for renters to have a seat on City Boards and Commissions in hopes to shine a light on this issue.