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These Programs Can Help Low-Income Louisville Residents In Need of Home Repairs

Home repairs can be a frightful burden for Louisville residents who live in poverty or on fixed incomes.

Earlier this week, WFPL News told the storyof Mary Campbell, a retiree living on about $800 a month. Campbell's home in recent years has fallen into an extreme state of disrepair — broken windows, downed gutters, a collapsed roof. Campbell can't afford to fix her house, and she is also facing fines for code violations.

Louisville residents can take advantage of several programs for struggling residents in need of home repairs, said Gabe Fritz, director of the city's Department of Housing and Community Development.

Last year, about 460 residents applied for assistance through the programs, he said. Nearly $3 million in program funds were distributed to about 300 residents.

But residents can face difficulties getting help for home repairs. Campbell said she'd tried to take advantage of programs to help, but she was never able to.

Determining which programs are best for a resident's needs isn't always easy — especially when residents are unaware of all that's available.

Phillip Crowe, a code enforcement supervisor, said enforcement officers will attempt to educate residents who struggle to pay fines about the resources available to them. But it's largely a verbal effort; no documents or pamphlets with information about the programming are handed out, he said.

Louisville does not appear to have a comprehensive list of all available programs for helping low-income residents repair their homes.

Still, residents can complete pre-applications on the city's website, allowing officials to determine which program is best.

Fritz said his office is developing a program along with code enforcement to make it easier for residents to access available services. That program is expected to be rolled out in the coming months.

In the meantime, we've attempted to compile a list of all the programs available for residents who need help fixing up their homes. The list is limited to programs that focus on helping residents make home repairs.

Here's what we found. If you know of other programs, let us know and we'll add them to the list.

Emergency Repair Program: Louisville Metro facilitates. Residents can receive as much as $5,000 for repairs, but they can't apply again for at least five years.

Lead-Safe Louisville: Louisville Metro facilitates. Residents can receive as much as $20,000 for repair associated with eliminated lead hazard, including chipping or peeling paint on doors, windows, woodwork or exterior siding.

Weatherization Assistance Program: Louisville Metro facilitates. Residents can receive up to $7,000 in grants to to help make their homes more energy-efficient and lower utility bills.

Shawnee and Portland Home Ownership Incentive Program: Louisville Metro facilitates. Residents can receive as much as $24,999 in incentives for people who purchase homes in certain areas of the Shawnee and Portland neighborhoods.

Shawnee Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy AreaLouisville Metro facilitates. Residents within the certain geographic area can qualify for as much as $24,999 to help make exterior repairs to homes.

Portland Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area: Louisville Metro facilitates. Residents within the certain geographic area can qualify for as much as $20,000 to help make exterior repairs to homes.

Metro Housing Resource CenterResidents can receive as much as $3,000 for emergency home repairs. The funds are limited, as they are provided by Metro Council members. Residents must reside in Metro Council District 1, 3 or 5. Homeowners must have lived in their homes for at least two years and have an income of 80 percent or less of the metro area's median income.

Project WARMThree programming options. A year-round program provides homeowners and renters with minor repairs associated with weatherization, such as applying weather stripping and sealing windows. The Project WARM blitz incorporates as many as 150 volunteers to provide repairs for residents who could not otherwise complete them, said Frank Schwartz, director of Project WARM. The program also provides housing repair workshops for residents who are able to complete the repairs themselves. These workshops serve as many as 600 people each year, Schwartz said.

Louisville Gas and Electric WE Care: Administered by Louisville Gas and Electric. Provides qualifying residents with skills and services that allow them to use energy efficiently in their homes. The program can provide insulation, air conditioning tune ups, heater tune ups or replacement appliances.

New Directions Repair AffairThis program incorporates volunteers to make minor repairs to homes, including cleaning out gutters, fixing steps or handrails, minor plumbing work and exterior painting. More than 180 homes received repair assistance in 2014.

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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