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Louisville Officials Want Residents' Input on Affordable Housing Initiative

Affordable housing got a boost in this year's city spending plan.
Affordable housing got a boost in this year's city spending plan.

Louisville officials want to hear from developers and housing stakeholders as they craft the details of a $12 million affordable housing initiative launched earlier this year.

The Louisville CARES program looks to create 1,500 affordable housing units within two years, Mayor Greg Fischer said during the May announcement.

The program will be funded through a revolving loan pool of about $11 million. Nonprofit and for-profit developers will be able to tap the loan pool to build multi-family housing units across the city. That money will come via a 30-year bond, Fischer said.

A 10-question survey asks developers and financiers about effective loan structures, desired incentives and potential barriers to the construction of multi-family, affordable housing units, said Rachel Hurst, executive director of the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The survey was created by Louisville Forward and the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Theresa Zawacki, a senior policy adviser for Louisville Forward, said the results of the survey are part of the initiative's information-gathering stage.

Although many of the questions are focused on developers, Hurst said any resident can participate and submit comments.

To date, about 30 surveys have been returned. A public meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Louisville Urban League to allow residents and developers to discuss their thoughts on the initiative, Hurst said.

She said Louisville CARES is on schedule.

Zawacki said the information gathered through public input will help formulate the criteria developers will need to adhere to as they apply for funding. That criteria is set to be released at the end of October, she said.

A pre-application process is expected to begin later this year, and funding allocation should begin early next year, Hurst said.

"Ultimately, people could get started developing their housing by the start of 2016," she said.

Hurst said the upcoming initiative is a step toward supplying Louisville's poorest residents with affordable housing, but there is still a lot of work to do.

A 2015 needs assessment survey administered by the Louisville Metro Department of Community Services found the most pressing issue among responding residents is the need for more affordable housing.

Hurst said the city could use about 65,000 more units of affordable housing in total.

To take part in the ongoing survey regarding Louisville CARES, click here.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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