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More Than $2 Million Committed To Affordable Housing Projects

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

Six development agencies will share $2.35 million in city funds to help fuel the construction of nearly 330 affordable housing units in Louisville, according to an announcement Monday morning by housing advocates and city officials gathered at the Chestnut Street YMCA.

The news counters the idea that developers aren't interested in building affordable housing, said Christie McCravy, director of the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

"We are proving now that the community has the capacity," she said. "As long as there is flexible monies available for developers to make it work."

The need for affordable housing is, for some, an omnipresent issue in Louisville.

Nearly 60,000 households here spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, and nearly 24,000 of those spend at least 50 percent of their income on housing, according to U.S. Census data.

Families that spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing are considered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be cost-burdened. They may struggle to afford other necessities such as food, clothing and medical care.

City officials have made strides in recent months to support efforts to grow the stock of affordable housing in Louisville. In 2015, Mayor Greg Fischer unveiled a $12 million revolving loan fund for the development of some 1,500 affordable housing units.

Fischer followed that by allocating $2.5 million in the city's current budget cycle for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The investment was the largest ever for the trust fund but far short of the $10 million advocates have consistently called for since the fund was established by city ordinance in 2008.

With Monday's announcement, the bulk of that $2.5 million allotment is spent.

McCravy said the ability of the trust fund to solicit interest from developers and disburse the funding in a matter of months is proof the group deserves more funding in the next budget cycle.

Fischer told reporters that funding affordable housing is a priority, but he hesitated when asked just how much he plans to propose spending on the group's effort to fund the construction of additional units.

"How much depends on the level of support from the council," he said.

His $2.5 million proposal last year was unanimously approved by the Metro Council. Councilman Bill Hollander, a staunch supporter of affordable housing and chair of the council's majority caucus, said then that the funding need is greater than $2.5 million.

On Monday, Hollander said the group "has proven that good projects are waiting to be built, if the funding is available."

McCravy said the trust fund began accepting applications in October. A dozen applications were received, she said. Of the six selected, four are nonprofit developers and two are for-profit developers, she said.

Here are the projects being subsidized by the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund:

  • $125,000 to Habitat for Humanity for gap funding for construction of five homes on vacant lots in Council Districts 5, 15 and 16.
  • $477,000 to the Chestnut Street Family YMCA for the rehabilitation and preservation of 41 units of single-room occupancy housing in District 4.
  • $60,000 to River City Housing for gap funding to rehab two homes in District 1.
  • $641,114 to Backtrack Inc. to rehab and preserve 40 senior multi-family units in District 15.
  • $546,886 to Housing Partnership Inc. to acquire and rehab 22 single family homes in the California, Russell and Portland neighborhoods.
  • $500,000 to LDG Multifamily LLC for gap funding for the Bristol Bluffs project, near the juncture of Billtown Road and the Gene Snyder Freeway, which will produce 216 affordable housing units.
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.