Monday, Mayor Linda Gorton proposed funding implicit bias training for city employees. Sounds great, right?
BUT: the money to fund the trainings is being taken from emergency rental assistance—during the worst eviction crisis in at least a decade. The city’s rental assistance program is already deeply underfunded. Now Mayor Gorton wants to cut funding even more. This will lead to even more Lexingtonians losing their homes in the coming months, after hundreds have already been evicted since August 24.
What we need is MORE rental assistance, a comprehensive and automatic eviction moratorium, and for Governor Andy Beshear to #CancelRent. Instead, Mayor Gorton is cutting rental assistance. Shame.
We need you to tell city council to oppose Mayor Gorton’s proposal! Tell them to fund implicit bias using money from the oversized police budget, not the underfunded rental assistance program. Council votes on the proposal Tuesday, December 1 at 3pm. Sign up for public comment using instructions here: https://www.lexingtonky.gov/publiccomment. Before the meeting, call and email your city council person using contact information here: https://www.lexingtonky.gov/browse/government/council
The proposal is part of Mayor Gorton’s response to the Commission for Racial & Equality. But Black and Brown Lexingtonians are disproportionately evicted. Taking money from an underfunded rental assistance program does not advance racial justice. It means more Black and Brown people will lose their homes.
Although the funds Mayor Gorton plans to cut were not allocated to a specific rental assistance program, that is not because they were unneeded. Available rental assistance in Lexington totals just over $1.9 million. The average household recipient receives over $1,700 from the city funds. This means that available city funds are likely to serve under 1,200 people. However, as of November 4, the city had already received 3,400 intakes into its rental assistance program—and over 90% of people who apply are eligible. That means that 2,000 Lexingtonians who are eligible to receive rental assistance and applied will receive no money because the city does not have enough funds—compared to only 1,200 who will receive funds.
How does Mayor Gorton respond to this underfunding of eviction prevention? BY CUTTING THE PROGRAM MORE. That ain’t right.
What’s even worse is that, while Mayor Gorton is taking over $200k from the rental assistance program, they are only spending $120k of it on implicit bias training. The other $80k is just going back into the city’s Chief Administrative Office budget.
Cancel rent! Cancel evictions! & EXPAND, not cut, rental assistance!