Greenberg unveils initiatives addressing Louisville homelessness

Louisville mayor Craig Greenberg announced new investments in the city to help combat homelessness and provide more affordable housing.
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 9:03 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville mayor Craig Greenberg announced new investments in the city to help combat homelessness and provide more affordable housing.

On Thursday, Greenberg shared multiple steps the city would take, providing funds for homelessness prevention and the creation of a new community care campus to care for individuals who are experiencing homelessness.

“Moving as fast as possible, with partners across the entire city, we have been hard at work on solutions to ensure families in Louisville have the resources they need to remain in their homes,” Greenberg said in a release.

Greenberg said through a partnership with Norton Healthcare, UofL Health, the Coalition for the Homeless and other organizations, the city would create a campus providing respite care and temporary housing in the Smoketown neighborhood.

Services planned for the Smoketown block are intended to help break the endless cycling of homeless patients from the emergency room to the streets and back again.

”It is a true gap in our community right now,” Laurel Isaac, UofL Heath Care Coordination System Director said. “We see these patients all the time. They come back to our hospitals four times more often than the regular patient population.”

80% of the city’s homeless population reportedly lives in the I-65 corridor between downtown Louisville and UofL Hospital.

The Smoketown campus will provide a place to stay after homeless patients are discharged.

The idea came out of a rare act of data sharing among local hospitals.

”Cooperation is what it really came down to,” Norton Healthcare President Russell Cox said. “And we all saw the same things, our data said the same things. And then it just became an incumbent responsibility to act.”

In addition, Metro Government agreed to purchase the property along East Breckinridge Street for $6.9 million to be used as a care continuum for centralized nursing stations, medical supplies and prescriptions, as well as a kitchen and laundry facility.

The existing facilities on the property include the Vu Hotel and Guest House, the C2 Event Space and other nearby buildings.

The end goal behind the community care campus is to transition people out of homelessness.

Plans for the campus include a laundry, a kitchen, offices and event space, a medical facility, and apartments for family housing.

”There will be different facilities, people experiencing homelessness have different needs,” Greenberg said. “Some are families, some are individuals, others have different needs. So by having so many different buildings on this campus, will be able to serve the needs of the many that are currently experiencing homelessness.”

The plan also includes an $8.25 million initiative that will be used for emergency eviction prevention efforts. The funds come from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which were relocated to Louisville Metro Government by Gov. Andy Beshear.

Funding will be distributed to the Louisville Urban League, who will assist clients struggling to afford permanent housing; and to the Association of Community Ministries, who will use funds for direct rental assistance for Louisville families and individuals facing eviction.

Greenberg said an additional $24 million would be used for more permanent affordable housing within the city.

“In the long term, the only clear solution to our homelessness and affordable housing crisis is to build more homes and make sure they are accessible to low-income and working families,” Greenberg said.

Louisville Metro said it is working with partners to create homes for low-income households at or below 50% area median income.