Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund provides relief to Kentuckians affected by COVID-19 that need assistance with their water, wastewater, electric, or natural gas service. Kentucky’s Community Action Network is partnering with Team Kentucky to distribute these funds statewide.
Two components for this program are available: Subsidy provides assistance to all eligible households. Crisis provides assistance to eligible households experiencing a crisis situation with their utilities.
How to Apply: Interested households should contact their local Community Action Outreach Office on how to apply. To locate your local office, please call 800-456-3452 or visit www.capky.org. Applications will be taken as long as funding is available, or until December 30, 2020.
Am I Eligible?: Households who have an income up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and have been economically impacted due to COVID-19 can apply.
Household Size: Gross Monthly Income: Household Size: Gross Monthly Income:
1 $ 2,126 5 $ 5,113
2 $ 2,873 6 $ 5,860
3 $ 3,620 7 $ 6,606
4 $ 4,366 8 $ 7,353
COVID-19 Impact: Has your household experienced one of the following changes due to the
• Job Loss;
• Reduced Hours/Wages
• Additional Expenses or
• Other negative impact
Required Documents: All applicants will be required to supply the following documentation at time of application:
• Most current utility bills (water, wastewater electric, natural gas)
• Proof of Social Security Number or Permanent Residence card (Green Card) for each member of the household.
• Proof of all household’s (all members) income from the preceding month
• In addition, Crisis applicants must supply proof of arrearage, payment plan, or disconnect notice for utilities
Benefits Provided: The benefits a household can receive will depend on the program component. Benefits are supplied in the form of a voucher to the vendor or supplier. A household can apply for one or all components and is eligible for up to the maximum allowable benefit for each component.
Subsidy: Provides eligible households with an account credit to prevent future crisis and disconnections.
Eligible households can receive a one-time $500 benefit towards their water and/or wastewater and $400 towards their natural gas and/or electric bills.
Crisis: Assistance is available for households with past-due natural gas, electric, water, and or wastewater bills.
Water and/or Wastewater: Households can receive assistance for the minimum needed to alleviate the water and/ or wastewater crisis up to $500. Households can reapply until they reached their maximum benefit.
Electric and/or Natural Gas:Households can receive assistance for the minimum needed to alleviate the electric and/or natural gas crisis up to $400. Households can reapply until they reached their maximum benefit.
For the latest information on the novel coronavirus in Kentucky, please visit kycovid19.ky.gov.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.
Generally, the Act provides that covered employers must provide to all employees:
· Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
· Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.
A covered employer must provide to employees that it has employed for at least 30 days:
· Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
Covered Employers: The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this Act, and are therefore not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provision.
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
Qualifying Reasons for Leave:
Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:
1. is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
2. has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
3. is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
4. is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
5. is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
6. is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for expanded family leave if the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.
Duration of Leave:
For reasons (1)-(4) and (6): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.
For reason (5): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave at 40 hours a week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.
Calculation of Pay:
For leave reasons (1), (2), or (3): employees taking leave shall be paid at either their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).
For leave reasons (4) or (6): employees taking leave shall be paid at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).
For leave reason (5): employees taking leave shall be paid at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period—two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave).
Tax Credits: Covered employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA. Qualifying wages are those paid to an employee who takes leave under the Act for a qualifying reason, up to the appropriate per diem and aggregate payment caps. Applicable tax credits also extend to amounts paid or incurred to maintain health insurance coverage. For more information, please see the Department of the Treasury’s website.
Employer Notice: Each covered employer must post in a conspicuous place on its premises a notice of FFCRA requirements.
Prohibitions: Employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against any employee who takes paid sick leave under the FFCRA and files a complaint or institutes a proceeding under or related to the FFCRA.
Penalties and Enforcement: Employers in violation of the first two weeks’ paid sick time or unlawful termination provisions of the FFCRA will be subject to the penalties and enforcement described in Sections 16 and 17 of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 29 U.S.C. 216; 217. Employers in violation of the provisions providing for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) are subject to the enforcement provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Department will observe a temporary period of non-enforcement for the first 30 days after the Act takes effect, so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act. For purposes of this non-enforcement position, “good faith” exists when violations are remedied and the employee is made whole as soon as practicable by the employer, the violations were not willful, and the Department receives a written commitment from the employer to comply with the Act in the future.
 Wage and Hour Division does not administer this aspect of the law, but notes that every dollar of required paid leave (plus the cost of the employer’s health insurance premiums during leave) will be 100% covered by a dollar-for-dollar refundable tax credit available to the employer. For more information, please see the Department of the Treasury’s website.
 Employers of Health Care Providers or Emergency Responders may elect to exclude such employees from eligibility for the leave provided under the Act.
 Employers of Health Care Providers or Emergency Responders may elect to exclude such employees from eligibility for the leave provided under the Act.
 Certain provisions may not apply to certain employers with fewer than 50 employees. See Department FFCRA regulations (expected April 2020).
 Paid sick time provided under this Act does not carry over from one year to the next. Employees are not entitled to reimbursement for unused leave upon termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.
 An employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for the first two weeks of partial paid leave under this section.
 The Department will issue a model notice no later than March 25, 2020.
On Sept. 8, 2020, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced the launch of the Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund website (https://teamkyhherf.ky.gov). Kentuckians can visit the website to find out if they are eligible for assistance and how to apply for assistance with rent.
“As we continue to wage this battle against COVID-19, we must make sure renters have a home so they can be Healthy at Home, while also safeguarding landlords against undue financial hardship,” the Governor said. “When we come out of this global health crisis, we don’t want Kentuckians facing such insurmountable debt from their housing situation that they are unable to recover. This program will provide some much-needed relief to eligible tenants and property owners during these unprecedented times.”
Kentuckians can visit the site to seek information on how to obtain a portion of $15 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act money the Governor pledged to support the Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund. Details of the application of the funds include:
· Eligible landlords can be reimbursed for missed rent payments and receive some advance rent payments to keep tenants in their homes;
· For eligible tenants, the program pays up to 90 percent of past-due rent and may also cover up to two months of future rent;
· For approved applications, payments will be made directly to eligible landlords; and
· Kentuckians may submit applications beginning today, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.
Gov. Beshear updated the state’s executive order issued earlier this year on evictions to reflect the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on residential evictions through Dec. 31.
Under the CDC order, a tenant who signs and submits a declaration to his or her landlord about the inability to timely pay rent cannot be evicted. This declaration is required to prevent an eviction. Like the Governor’s prior executive orders on evictions, the CDC order does not relieve anyone of the obligation to pay rent or comply with any other obligation under a tenancy, lease or similar contract. The CDC order allows landlords to charge and collect fees, penalties and interest for failure to timely pay rent, but prohibits evictions for nonpayment or late payment of such fees, penalties or interest.
The Governor also reminded Kentuckians of other programs helping Kentuckians pay rent, including the Team Kentucky Fund (https://teamkyfund.ky.gov/) and the Louisville/Jefferson County Eviction Prevention COVID-19 Relief Fund (https://louisvilleky.gov/government/eviction-prevention-covid-19-relief-fund).
Kentuckians seeking legal assistance can contact the Kentucky COVID-19 Legal Helpline (https://www.kycovidlegalhelp.org/) or call toll-free: 833-540-0342. The service is sponsored by Kentucky’s Access to Justice Commission and the four Kentucky civil legal aid programs, AppalReD Legal Aid, Kentucky Legal Aid, Legal Aid of the Bluegrass and Legal Aid Society.
More information about eligibility and how to apply is available at https://teamkyhhref.ky.gov.
Kentuckians can also access translated COVID-19 information and summaries of the Governor’s news conferences at https://teamkentuckytranslations.com.
The Shelbyville, Simpsonville and Shelby County Commission on Human Rights recently changed its email address as part of an effort to reach out to the residents of Shelby County.
The new email is firstname.lastname@example.org. It is being monitored regularly and every effort will be made to respond to inquiries in a timely manner, said Commission Chair Alvin Farris.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions, the Commission was close to launching a new website and opening a phone line to receive questions and complaints. Those plans are temporarily on hold until everything can be finalized, Farris said.
“Until the Commission is able to complete the work on our website and phone installation, the best way to reach the Commission is using the new email address,” he added.
In the case of Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, the Supreme Court ruled on June 18, 2020, that the Trump administration could not immediately shut down DACA, a program (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) that shields about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation and allows them to work. Download the court’s decision (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/19-161_g314.pdf) or read National Public Radio’s news coverage of the decision (https://www.npr.org/2020/06/18/829858289/supreme-court-upholds-daca-in-blow-to-trump-administration).
On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. The court considered two cases concerning gay rights, Bostock v. Clayton and Altitude Express v. Zarda, and one case concerning transgender rights, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Download the court’s decision (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/17-1618_hfci.pdf) or read National Public Radio’s news coverage of the decision (https://www.npr.org/2020/06/15/863498848/supreme-court-delivers-major-victory-to-lgbtq-employees).
Alvin Farris, Commission chair, center, joins Shelby County Foundation chair Howard Griffith and other recipients of nearly $58,000 in grants awarded by the Foundation in November 2019 to 12 nonprofits in Shelby County. The Shelbyville, Simpsonville and Shelby County Commission on Human Rights received $1,500 from the organization to purchase a phone system and to create and print much-needed information about the Commission and its services to all residents of the two cities and Shelby County.