By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer announced May 15 that his office plans to increase the city’s number of affordable housing units with a $12 million initiative.
The effort — known as “Louisville Creating Affordable Residences for Economic Success” or Louisville CARES — aims to create 1,500 housing units in the next two years, according to a statement from the city.
“Having decent, safe and affordable housing is the most basic need for families,” said Fischer in the statement available on the louisvilleky.gov website. “Yet, in Louisville, that home is out of reach for too many of our families. Louisville
CARES is a down payment on a long-term plan to address that challenge.”
The mayor said that 60,000 households in Louisville are in need of affordable housing and more than 8,000 residents experience homelessness each year.
Among those who struggle to find affordable housing are senior citizens, and Catholic Charities has worked for years to help them. The charity’s efforts have focused on creating affordable and safe homes for seniors by renovating vacant parish buildings and turning them into affordable apartments available only to seniors.
David Dutschke, who works in the Catholic Charities housing development office, said the Louisville CARES initiative may be able to help its efforts.
Catholic Charities works with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to secure financing for the affordable senior housing projects, he noted. The agencies currently are working on a new proposal for additional housing.
A statement from the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund (LAHTF) said the mayor’s initiative “is a significant step to address the affordable housing shortage in Louisville.” The LAHTF was created in 2008 by the metro council to invest public funds to provide housing for working families, veterans and those on fixed incomes, such as seniors.
“The LAHTF is working with the city to ensure the program design keeps the elements that make housing trust funds successful — flexibility and quick response time,” the statement said.
On May 19 the LAHTF announced that it is investing $110,000 to fix up four buildings at Heritage Green apartment complex off Southside Drive in the South End of town. This complex used to be called Americana Apartments and is home to many refugees and immigrant families. Construction started in April, and the work is set to be completed in 12 months. The Heritage Green complex will have 560 units of one, two and three bedrooms.