Mayor declares it Affordable Housing Week to celebrate progress made and stress need for additional investment
Mayor Greg Fischer today joined fair and affordable housing advocates in the mixed-income Park Springs subdivision to declare this week “Affordable Housing Week” in the city of Louisville – celebrating progress made, and calling on state and local leaders to continue work to expand affordable housing options.
“I am proud that we were able to commit $106 million toward affordable housing during my three terms, because these dollars translate to real impact in our community and a difference in the lives of Louisvillians. It is a tremendous achievement that would not have been possible without the support of Metro Council and partners like the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Habitat for Humanity, and affordable housing developers,” the Mayor said.
To date, those funds have created or preserved more than 5,000 affordable housing units in Louisville. Prior to Mayor Fischer’s administration, investments in affordable housing totaled only $7 million.
During the press conference, Rob Locke, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville, highlighted his agency’s partnership with the city to create affordable housing, as well as the need for more.
“Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville has helped 575 families become homeowners in our community over the last few decades, but we had 900 families apply for our program last month. The need for affordable housing is greater than ever, and Habitat is grateful for Mayor Fischer’s commitment to this important cause,” Locke said. “Habitat supports the spectrum of affordable housing but focuses on the equity-building path of homeownership. We celebrate the fact that 125 of our 575 homebuyers have paid off their mortgages!”
In addition to dedicated funding, Louisville Metro Government (LMG) is identifying other ways to promote affordable housing. As part of its equity review of the Land Development Code, for example, the Office of Planning & Design Services is considering way to amend the city’s land use regulations to encourage construction of a variety of housing types, such as duplexes, townhomes, cottage courts and other multiplexes, throughout Louisville.
In 2019, LMG and the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund released a Housing Needs Assessment, which identified that Louisville needs more than 31,000 new units of affordable housing to meet the need for housing among the city’s lowest income residents.
“Our work is not done,” Mayor Fischer said. “To meet the current and growing demand, we must continue investing in and incentivizing the development of affordable housing and find new ways to encourage a variety of housing options across Jefferson County.”
Tony Curtis, executive director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, noted that the cost to meet the housing needs of families with the lowest incomes, at or below 30% area median income, is currently projected to be over $5 billion.
"While we have made great strides recently in funding affordable housing through the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund and American Rescue Plan funding commitments, there remains a lot of work to be done to create housing opportunity and housing choice for all Louisvillians, across all of Louisville,” Curtis said. “The Metropolitan Housing Coalition is committed to advocating for attainable housing for all – by reforming the land development code to create housing choice and opportunity, by identifying a dedicated funding source for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, by creating wealth building opportunities to eliminate the 22,000 homeownership gap between Black and White households, and through other efforts. This is not a district by district issue; this is a citywide issue of the utmost importance."
Kentucky Affordable Housing Coalition has continued to push for state action to make investing in affordable housing more attractive and to help cities across Kentucky.
“With inflation on the rise, it is critical that members of our communities, such as veterans, retiring seniors, teachers, first responders, and those entering the workforce for the first time have a home that will meet their budget and not break the bank,” said Michael Gross, vice president of Kentucky Affordable Housing Coalition. “We have been working diligently to pass a state housing tax credit in Kentucky and will continue to fight for the passage of this bill, but we need your help. Talk to your local and state officials and continue to let them know about the critical need for affordable housing in Kentucky.”
The Coalition noted that a 5-year State Workforce and Affordable Housing Tax Credit would lead to the construction of over 6,500 affordable housing units, creation of 3,500 jobs annually, and over $178 million in state and local tax revenues, according to current estimations.