COVINGTON, Ky. — The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has left hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians out of work and collecting unemployment. The state launched the Team Kentucky Fund at the start of its pandemic response, and officials hope it can provide much needed relief.
But Northern Kentucky leaders, like Covington’s Assistant City Manager Bruce Applegate, warn that people need to apply now before the limited fund dries up. You can find links and information on how to apply at the end of this article.
“What we hear is that people are hurting,” he said. “There is a limited number of resources to get out from the federal level.”
Applegate leads Covington’s coronavirus response team. On top of figuring out how the city can help people and businesses affected by the pandemic, they also try to connect neighbors with state and federal support.
“We are really looking for any additional tools out there to try and make sure that we can get a really well rounded response back, again, to a citizenry that is hurting,” Applegate said.
That’s why Covington is telling residents to apply for Team Kentucky Fund vouchers now. The state has raised $3 million in donations and allows eligible families to get up to $1,000 to pay for things like rent, mortgage, food, groceries and certain utilities as they rebound from the pandemic.
Kentucky’s Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman says people who qualify for Team Kentucky Fund assistance are folks who have experienced a loss of employment due to COVID-19 or a reduction of their income by 50% or more.
“It doesn’t take much math to show that that’s going to be quickly expended,” Applegate said.
Locally, the Northern Kentucky Community Action Committee offers help with finding jobs, childcare, budgeting and provides some funding to help people pay for gas and utilities. Now, it’s also the agency responsible for distributing vouchers to people in eight Northern Kentucky counties: Boone, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Owen and Pendleton.
The NKCAC’s Executive Director Catrena Bowman-Thomas says the need for the Team Kentucky Fund vouchers is great, but adds there’s no way to know how quickly the money will run out. People who fill out this online application will have their request reviewed in the order it comes in.
“So we know already there is going to be very high demand for this funding,” Bowman-Thomas said.
Bowman-Thomas says the NKCAC has received between 600 and 800 calls for help each week, mostly from people who have never reached out before.
“There are programs, there are services out here to help everyone,” she said. “We don’t want anyone to be left behind.”
To apply now for Team Kentucky Fund vouchers, visit the application portal here.
You can also visit www.nkcac.org or call their hotline at (859) 292-5222. The NKCAC also has paper applications for people who don't have reliable internet connection.