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Louisville-based nonprofit awarded more than $6 million to rehab affordable housing units

Woman in green shirt speaks at lectern while man in suit looks on
Aprile Rickert
Lori Hudson Flanery, president and CEO at nonprofit New Directions Housing Corporation, speaks during a press conference on March 25, 2024.

New Directions Housing Corporation has been awarded more than $6 million to upgrade infrastructure at dozens of affordable housing units in Louisville.

A project that could provide major energy-efficient renovations to Directions Apartments units across 13 locations in the Chickasaw, Shawnee and Old Louisville neighborhoods got a boost from the federal government, officials said Monday.

A grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, as part of the Green and Resilient Retrofit Program, means a strong start toward the overall more than $14 million needed to complete the renovations.

Louisville-based nonprofit New Directions Housing Corporation, which owns the Directions Apartments, has been awarded a $6.36 million federal grant to improve more than 100 affordable housing units.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg welcomed the financial support at a news conference Monday.

“It’s going to make sure that these apartments, these homes are more energy-efficient, they're more climate [resistant],” he said. “And that means that they will be safer and stronger homes for the families who live here.”

Greenberg has made focusing on housing a priority of his administration. A representative from his office, and the office of Kentucky Lieutenant Gov. Jaqueline Coleman, serve on the 22-member New Directions board.

New Directions has more than 900 apartments in Louisville.

“We serve over 1,300 of our community’s most under-resourced people,” said New Directions President and CEO Lori Hudson Flanery. That includes some support to Southern Indiana residents as well.

She said the average resident of New Directions properties is a young mother with one or two children, making less than $10,000 per year.

The upgrades will include new windows, flooring, HVAC systems and kitchen and bathroom remodeling. Flanery said these renovations will mean an overall decrease in utility costs of at least 25%.

Julia Gordon, assistant secretary for housing and federal housing commissioner for HUD, called the program, “environmental justice in action.”

“Not only does it make these properties less expensive to operate, and more resilient for the long term, but it keeps the people who live here safer throughout the types of weather events that we know are increasing both in frequency and intensity,” she said.

New Directions serves residents making an average of 30% or less of the area median income, which was $26,900 for a family of four in 2023.

Through rental assistance as part of HUD programming, residents pay in rent 30% of their income. They may also get some assistance with utilities.

The renovations are part of a multi-phase plan to rehabilitate the nonprofit’s properties.

“I would say 60% of our portfolio is in need of rehab,” Flanery said, adding that some of the buildings are over a century old.

The overall plan will eventually include more than $145 million in renovations at New Directions properties. The first phase, $51 million in upgrades at the Shawnee Renaissance and Roosevelt Apartments, is underway and expected to be finished this year.

Phase two includes the Directions Apartments, the grant for which was announced Monday, as well as work at the Russell Apartments.

The third phase will include more than 100 new units at the Roosevelt and Russell Apartments.

“Safe, secure and affordable housing is foundational for vital communities,” Flanery said at the news conference. “It is critical to better health and fosters opportunity for individuals and families to build a brighter future.”

A city-commissioned report released last week showed Louisville needs about 36,000 additional housing units for residents at the lowest-income levels.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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