Affordable housing initiatives highlighted by Louisville mayor

Affordable housing initiatives highlighted by Louisville mayor
Downtown Louisville, Ky. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Press release from Mayor’s Press Office

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer today highlighted initiatives to increase access to affordable housing and keep existing homeowners in their homes, including a new program through the Louisville Metro Housing Authority.

“For years, we have worked to grow our programs around wealth building and initiatives aimed at preventing the displacement of residents in neighborhoods experiencing higher levels of investment. In light of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, those efforts are more critical than ever,” Mayor Fischer said. “By breaking down barriers to homeownership and offering resources to keep others staying their homes, we promote long-term housing stability and wealth-building for our residents.”

Louisville Metro Housing Authority (LMHA) announced during the press conference that it had received approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to launch a new program that will provide funds to income-eligible residents of the Park DuValle, Phoenix Hill, Smoketown or Russell neighborhoods who have become homeowners through LMHA’s revitalization efforts. The funds can be used to offset their mortgage, interest, property tax or utility costs to help them stay in their homes.

The new LMHA program is part of HUD’s Moving to Work (MTW) initiative that allows public housing authorities to use federal dollars on locally designed and tested efforts to help residents find employment, become self-sufficient and increase housing choices for low-income families. For more information, visit www.lmha1.org.

“LMHA remains committed to strengthening Louisville neighborhoods and assisting residents in achieving self-sufficiency. This MTW activity allows us to further those non-traditional approaches in maintaining homeownership opportunities for low-income residents in our historic neighborhoods undergoing unprecedented growth,” said Lisa Osanka, director Louisville Metro Housing Authority. “Now more than ever, our team is invested in keeping our families homed with the support they need to be healthy and safe. We will continue working with our community partners to provide the services essential to that mission.”

The city, meanwhile, has dedicated more than $7 million toward its Office of Housing’s Down Payment Assistance and Home Repair programs, which use local funds as well as federal Community Development Block Grant funds and HOME Investment Partnership Program Funds to help income-qualified residents purchase homes, or make needed repairs on their properties. During the budget process, Louisville Metro Government worked closely with Metro Council to allocate additional funds to these and other anti-displacement programs.

Through the Down Payment Assistance Program, qualified homebuyers can receive up to 20 percent of the purchase price to help them buy homes in neighborhoods throughout Jefferson County.

Through the Office of Housing’s Home Repair programs, current homeowners – including those buying a home through the Down Payment Assistance program – can access money to cover the costs of electrical and HVAC work, plumbing and roofing. The city also offers Home Repair programs specifically for residents of west Louisville, Smoketown and Shelby Park to make emergency repairs to improve home safety and help them stay in their homes.

This year, The Office of Housing also brought back its Exterior Code Alleviation Program, which is designed to assist low, moderate, and middle-income homeowners in eliminating exterior code violations and fixing minor essential exterior repairs to improve the sustainability of the home. Eligible repairs include painting, siding, gutters, downspouts, roof replacement/chimney repair, steps, window sealing, foundation work and more.

Those who apply for these home repair funds are also encouraged to apply for the city’s property tax moratorium. Earlier this year, in a joint effort by Louisville Metro Government and Louisville Metro Council, the city made the Property Assessment and Reassessment Moratorium Program more accessible to homeowners in west Louisville, Smoketown and Shelby Park by lowering the amount homeowners in those neighborhoods need to invest in home repairs and upgrades in order to qualify. The city also agreed to waive a $40 administrative fee for low-income residents.

Homeowners can apply here: https://louisvilleky.gov/government/construction-review/tax-moratorium

The Office of Housing is currently accepting applications for the Home Repair, Down Payment Assistance and Exterior Code Alleviation programs. It expects to fulfill more than 350 applications requesting funding. You can learn more about these programs or apply at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/housing.

These programs are part of the city’s broader anti-displacement strategies that focus on combating the threat of involuntary displacement as neighborhoods see greater investment. As part of that work, Louisville Metro also announced Tuesday that it had issued a competitive request for proposals, seeking one or more organizations to develop and manage a Community Land Trust, a tool to create permanently affordable homeownership opportunities in neighborhoods that lack affordable housing or areas experiencing high levels of investment.

Learn more about the city’s anti-displacement strategies here: https://louisvilleky.gov/government/develop-louisville/anti-displacement-strategies