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Coronavirus aid arrives; renters eligible for help

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) money approved in March by Congress has begun filtering into Letcher County, reimbursing local governments for expenses incurred because of the virus, and providing help to people unable to pay rent and utilities.

The law provides rent assistance to anyone with an income of up to 200 percent of the poverty line who has lost income as a result of the virus. That is particularly important economically because it allows residents to stay in their rental homes, while keeping landlords and the banks that hold their mortgages solvent.

LKLP Community Action Agency administers the program locally. Renters also can apply for aid from the Team Kentucky Fund and the United Way.

Albert Smith, Community Service Block Grant Coordinator for the LKLP, said those applying for Team Kentucky aid have to have lost at least 50 percent of their income as a result of COVID-19, but it will also help homeowners pay their mortgages. The United Way Fund will also help with mortgages.

Those who want to apply for Team Kentucky money can do so via the state website at www.capky.org/teamkentucky-fund-2/ and those applying for United Way or CARES money can call the Whitesburg LKLP office at 633-4458.

Meanwhile, the City of Whitesburg has received $73,629 in CARES reimbursement for payroll expenses, and Fleming-Neon received $24,981 for reimbursement of payroll expenses for its police department. Jenkins received $1,524 for its volunteer fire department.

Letcher County applied Tuesday to the fund. The final amount of the grant application was not known as the county is still collecting paperwork required.

County Treasurer Doris Jean Frazier said she expects the final amount for the first application to be a little more than $100,000. That pays for replacement employees for those who have had to be quarantined, pays sick leave, and pays the payroll of people hired to do jobs that would normally be done by inmates in the county jail. It also pays for personal protective equipment that has been used since the pandemic began.

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