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Gov. Beshear provides Team Kentucky update

In News, State by OC Monitor Staff

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Today, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on UofL Health – South Hospital; applications for the Recovery Ready Communities program; tax filing assistance; eviction relief; recovery and rebuilding efforts in Eastern Kentucky; the Department of Juvenile Justice and public health. He also named the Louisville Orchestra musicians and staff as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.

UofL Health – South Hospital

Yesterday, Gov. Beshear joined UofL Health to celebrate the hoisting of the commemorative community beam at the new South Hospital in Bullitt County. The new facility will provide additional inpatient beds, enhanced emergency capabilities, an intensive care unit, a cardiac/vascular lab and increased surgical and outpatient services. The project will add 100,000 square feet of new space and is expected to create at least 100 new jobs.

“I believe that health care is a basic human right. And the new UofL Health – South Hospital will provide lifesaving care and treatment for all of the people who come through the doors,” Gov. Beshear said. “The completion of UofL Health – South Hospital represents the steps we’re taking to move Kentucky forward and make it a better place to call home for our families.”

Applications Open for Recovery Ready Communities Program

Today, Gov. Beshear announced that applications are open for Kentucky communities to apply for Recovery Ready certification.

In June of 2022, the Governor announced the creation of the Recovery Ready Communities program. The Office of Drug Control Policy, the Advisory Council for Recovery Ready Communities and Volunteers of America Mid-States created this certification program for communities across the Commonwealth. Communities are eligible to apply for this certification, which measures their services to residents seeking help for drug or alcohol addiction in three different categories: prevention, treatment and recovery support. To read more, see the full release.

Department of Revenue Offers Tax Filing Assistance

Gov. Beshear reminded Kentuckians that each year, the Department of Revenue partners with the IRS to operate Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites. At these sites, knowledgeable staff provide free tax filing assistance to eligible individuals and families, as well as Kentucky state government employees.

This free service is available to help individuals with an annual income of $60,000 or less or any Kentucky state government employee. The window to schedule an appointment opened this week. In-person assistance will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Feb. 2 to Apr. 13.

If you believe you qualify and would like to take advantage of this service, please schedule an appointment. You can find a list of all the regional taxpayer service centers on the Department of Revenue’s website.

Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund

Gov. Beshear said that rent and utility assistance applications through the Healthy at Home Eviction Relief portal will no longer be reviewed beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023.

“We will use the remaining dollars to fund programs for those most at risk of eviction and homelessness. If Kentucky receives more federal funding, the program will resume,” Gov. Beshear said. “The goal is to have an ongoing program for rent assistance.”

The fund has provided 52,738 households nearly $205 million in rental assistance and more than $23.5 million in utility and internet assistance to help keep families in their homes during the pandemic.

In December, Gov. Beshear announced the reallocation of $54 million through Team Kentucky’s Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund to further support Lexington and Louisville homeowners, renters and landlords who are still impacted by the pandemic. Since the program launched in February 2021, Gov. Beshear has directed over $46 million in funds to Lexington and $92.2 million in funds to Louisville.

Eastern Kentucky Flood Update

Gov. Beshear provided an update on Eastern Kentucky’s stabilization and rebuilding efforts.

“Next week, we will mark six months since unprecedented flooding destroyed many homes and devastated communities in Eastern Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “We are making good progress, but there is much work left to be done.”

Currently, 243 families are housed in travel trailers. Kentucky State Parks are now housing 28 people, down from the 360 people sheltered on Sept. 1, 2022.

If flood victims need help, they should call FEMA directly or visit a Multi-Agency Resource Center. Visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources for more information. FEMA is still approving claims and actively working to help flood victims.

The Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has raised over $13.1 million from more than 41,000 donors. To contribute, click here.

Future of Juvenile Justice System

Today, Gov. Beshear expanded upon recent steps taken by his administration to enhance youth and staff safety at the Department of Juvenile Justice in response to recent violent incidents.

The Governor announced additional action to improve the juvenile justice system and called on the General Assembly to support these changes and fund the salary increase. Click here to read the full release.

Public Health Update

Gov. Beshear also updated Kentuckians on influenza, RSV and COVID-19. The spread of influenza seems to be declining but remains at elevated levels in Kentucky. Locations and appointments for the flu vaccine can be found at vaccines.gov.

RSV activity appears to be declining in the state. People of any age can become infected with RSV, and most recover within one to two weeks. RSV can be serious, however, especially for infants and older adults.

The Governor said the most recent COVID-19 data shows that the virus is increasing nationwide. Most Kentucky counties now have moderate or high COVID-19 Community Levels. He encouraged those who are eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccine booster.

Team Kentucky All-Stars

Gov. Beshear named the Louisville Orchestra musicians and staff as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. The Governor joined the Louisville Orchestra yesterday to announce the orchestra’s two-year tour across Kentucky beginning in May, playing for audiences as part of “In Harmony – The Commonwealth Tour of the Louisville Orchestra.”

“These musicians are the living legacy of the many who came before them, all working to build a better Kentucky. The Louisville Orchestra is meeting Kentuckians where they are, highlighting the impact an orchestra can have,” Gov. Beshear said. “Team Kentucky knows you all are going to touch countless lives – and we are grateful to each of you.”