Rents rise in Louisville as housing-related program seeks funding for another year
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - An 80-year-old Louisville man said he has looked and looked, but can’t find an apartment to rent in his price range.
“I guess I’ll sleep in the street,” said the man who did not want to be identified; he’s worried it would make landlords even less likely to rent to him. “I have no option. There is no option.”
His current lease is not being renewed. He has to be out of his home of seven years by July 31.
“I’ve been looking for apartments all over town and even over in Indiana,” he said. Still, he said he cannot find a price that his Social Security check can handle.
According to RentData.org, Louisville Metro rent prices have jumped more than 12% in the past two years, compared to a 6.5% jump in the previous two years.
Natalie Harris, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless, sees the problem too.
“It is really, really difficult right now to find units that people can afford,” said Harris. She said they help clients search for “apartment after apartment to find one they can afford.”
These rent spikes come as funding for renter assistance programs is on the line.
Right to Counsel is a 2021 program that provides qualified low-income families facing eviction free legal help through Legal Aid.
Stewart Pope, Legal Aid’s advocacy director, said the program is more useful than ever as pandemic-era rent help has diminished.
“We’re back to just kind of normal times, when there is no rental assistance,” Pope said. “So, I think the idea behind Right to Counsel and what we try to do is negotiate with landlords, [helping tenants] not become homeless or sleeping in their cars.”
This week, Louisville Metro Council is in budget meetings firming up how to fund programs like Right to Counsel into the next fiscal year.
Pope said he has every reason to believe that the funding will come through, “and we can continue to work.” There is also some CARES Act funding that could be funneled toward housing programs.
Meanwhile, the 80-year-old man struggling to find a new, affordable home, has a darker outlook.
“I feel I have absolutely no hope,” he said.
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