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Louisville's Coalition for the Homeless releases 2025 budget priorities and recommendations

Woman speaks at lectern with microphones in front of a screen displaying a presentation
Divya Karthikeyan
/
LPM
Natalie Harris, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless, outlines recommendations for Louisville's 2025 budget.

More affordable housing, funding shelters and money for eviction prevention are on the advocacy organization’s list of recommendations for Louisville’s next budget and plans.

The nonprofit Coalition for the Homeless is calling on the city to double funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund next year to $30 million.

Almost all of that could go to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, with $5 million set aside for acquiring property the city can rezone for housing development, George Eklund, Director of Education and Advocacy said at an event Tuesday morning.

The city budget process will get underway next month.

Eklund said there’s been some progress since last year: The fund has helped create more than 300 new affordable housing units so far.

“We can use LIHTC properties — Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. We can use private development. But this is one of the biggest tools that the city has to start doing housing development,” he said, referring to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Louisville severely lacks housing units affordable to residents with some of the lowest incomes, according to a city-backed assessment released in 2019. An updated assessment is expected this year.

Mayor Craig Greenberg is aiming to add 15,000 housing units during his term as part of the “My Louisville Home” plan he announced last year. The plan also proposed increasing the trust fund’s budget allocation to $20 million, up from $15 million this fiscal year.

Eklund wants at least half of those 15,000 units to be geared toward low-income people.

The nonprofit is also asking Louisville to include $10 million in the budget for eviction prevention programs to match federal and private funds.

The funding could support rental assistance, and help pay off previous debts, legal services and eviction mediation programs.

Eklund said many Louisville residents are struggling with rising rental costs.

“This means that people are stuck at a similar wage that they were last year, but their rents are increasing. That means they have less money to save, that means they have less money to weather an unforeseen financial issue,” he said.

A new effort from the coalition this year is a monthly donation program to help families experiencing homelessness. The organization said families may need to clear debts before they transition to permanent housing, or purchase furniture and other needs.

Natalie Harris, the coalition’s executive director, said they’re asking the city to increase funding to shelters and double the $1 million allocated per year for operating those facilities.

“I can't imagine what the shelters’ insurance looks like right now. So those costs are increasing, but they're also serving more people, but we're not increasing the money that they need,” she said.

The coalition is also recommending policy changes to the city, like ending camp clearings when shelters are full or weather is extreme and passing a "right to shelter" ordinance to bring down the number of families waiting for shelter space and to eliminate red tape to open new shelters.

At the state level, it’s pushing for an eviction expungement bill that would prevent landlords from discriminating against renters with eviction records.

Earlier Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed House Bill 18, which would allow landlords to reject tenants who use Section 8 or other housing assistance. The Republican-dominated Legislature will have the opportunity to override Beshear’s veto.

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Divya is LPM's Race & Equity Reporter. Email Divya at dkarthikeyan@lpm.org.