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Kentucky receives $3.5 million from HUD for affordable housing development

Houses are pictured next to each other. Some boards and other construction materials are visible.
J. Tyler Franklin
/
LPM
Affordable housing got a boost in this year's city spending plan.

Kentucky will get $3.5 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, to produce more affordable housing, as part of an annual effort to alleviate the country’s affordable housing crisis.

HUD announced on Wednesday that it will allocate a total of $382 million, through the national Housing Trust Fund, to help states produce more affordable housing. This allocation aims to complement existing federal, state and local initiatives to invest in affordable housing development. The first Housing Trust Fund allocation was in 2016.

The $3.5 million set aside for Kentucky will be managed by the state for purposes including property acquisition, housing construction or improvement, and relocation assistance.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to improving the nation’s housing affordability crisis and the Housing Trust Fund provides communities resources they need to produce more safe, sustainable and affordable housing,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a press release.

A HUD spokesperson said states have to submit an action plan, documenting how they will use the allocation, by Aug. 15 in order to access the federal funds. The Kentucky Housing Corporation did not immediately respond to requests for comment on how the HUD funds will be allocated.

All of the Housing Trust Fund money must be used to support extremely low-income families, to ensure the program helps “those with the greatest needs.” Each state is allocated a minimum of $3 million.

Louisville needs more than 31,000 new units of affordable housing for its lowest income residents, at an estimated cost of $3.5 billion, according to a 2019 housing-needs assessment.

Last week, Mayor Craig Greenberg highlighted affordable housing as a key component of his proposed 2024 budget. His budget plan includes $15 million for the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, as well as $2 million for small developer affordable housing preservation.

“One significant aspect of our homelessness challenge is that we don’t have enough places to live for people with limited incomes,” Greenberg said in his speech to Metro Council. “From early in my campaign, I’ve joined the chorus of voices from across our community who’ve called for more affordable housing.”

Housing advocates in Louisville are also pushing for more local investment in eviction prevention services, alongside longer-term investments in affordable housing supply.

Across Kentucky, 29% of renter households are extremely low income, according to data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Among those households, 67% are severely cost burdened, meaning they spend more than half of their income on housing and utilities.

Tony Curtis, executive director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition in Louisville, said he’s waiting to see how the state will allocate this $3.5 million. But he said any additional federal dollars for affordable housing development are “welcome to our community,” especially as federal COVID-19 funding is drying up.

“There is a great need for both homeownership opportunities and rental opportunities,” Curtis said. “Rental costs are skyrocketing, so that’s taking a lot of units that may have been affordable at one time and putting them out of the reach of low-income households.”