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Louisville nonprofit gets $1.2m grant to help seniors age in place

Photo by J. Tyler Franklin
Homes in Louisville's Russell neighborhood.

An affordable housing nonprofit in Louisville will use the grant to help low-income seniors modify their homes as they age.

The nonprofit, New Directions, will use the $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help seniors in Louisville install grab bars, doorway modifications, wheelchair ramps and other in-home accessibility improvements.

City leaders say the grant will help seniors remain in their homes as they age, which is a key goal of Louisville Metro’s plan to create and preserve 15,000 affordable housing units by 2027.

Seniors make up about 15% of Louisville’s population, or about 90,000 people. And that number is growing, according to the city’s 2024 housing needs assessment. As the city’s aging population increases, so does “a need for housing specific to their age, abilities, mobility,” according to the assessment, which also found that Louisville has a shortage of 36,000 affordable housing units for its lowest income residents.

The New Directions Housing Corporation manages hundreds of affordable rental units throughout Jefferson County. But Lori Hudson Flanery, the nonprofit’s president and chief executive officer, said this grant will mostly assist seniors that live in their own homes.

“It’s really to make sure that people have an easy way to bathe, that they’re able to get up off of their furniture, that they’re able to come in and out of their house,” Flanery said during a press conference Tuesday announcing the grant.

The grants will be open to low-income residents over the age of 62. The nonprofit mostly serves people living in west and southwest Louisville.

During Tuesday’s announcement, Jennifer Riley Collins, a regional administrator for HUD, said she wished a similar grant program existed when she was growing up in Mississippi. She said she remembers Black matriarchs leaving her neighborhood as they aged because there was no one to make their homes more accessible.

“If my dad or somebody else wasn’t building that ramp, there was no nonprofit that I knew of that we could go and rely upon,” Collins said. “And so [they] disappeared from the neighborhood and the neighborhood changed.”

At the press conference, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said that giving seniors the opportunity to age in place is one of the strategies outlined in the My Louisville Home plan his administration released last year.

“It’s not just the affordability of housing that’s so important,” Greenberg said. “It’s about safe and quality affordable housing, as well.”

Greenberg said the grant will allow seniors, “who are some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” to have safer places to live.

Anyone interested in receiving assistance with accessibility upgrades can contact New Directions online or by calling 502-589-2272.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.

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