Our city is experiencing tremendous economic momentum:
• 72,000 new private sector jobs in the last seven years.
• 2,500 new businesses.
• Nearly $13 billion in capital investment.
• Wages are up. Unemployment is low, and thousands of jobs are open.
But like any city, we have challenges – like making sure that our prosperity benefits everyone. Being a city of compassion means we must be dedicated to ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to reach their full human potential.
And that starts with supporting the basic human need for safe and reliable housing.
With the cost of rent and mortgages rising, our community has more than 60,000 households in need of more affordable housing. Some families are homeless; many more are living with housing instability, spending too much of their limited incomes on rent or mortgage and utilities.
The federal government hasn’t increased funding for housing for years, and President Trump has called for the outright elimination of such funding. That means our city, and others like ours, must do all we can to provide our citizens a stable and affordable place to call home.
Over the last three years, Louisville Metro Government has invested $29 million in the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund and the Louisville CARES (Creating Affordable Residences for Economic Success) loan fund, leading to the creation of more than 2,360 units of affordable rental and homeownership housing across the city.
And to keep the momentum going and bring affordable housing to more families, my budget for the next fiscal year proposes an additional $12 million.
In addition to this unprecedented local investment in affordable housing, our Office of Housing and Community Development works daily to help residents stay in their homes by supporting new homeowners with down payment assistance and providing home repair and rehabilitation programs using federal dollars.
We’ve built a strong coalition of local partnerships with for profit developers, as well as with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, REBOUND, River City Housing, the Louisville Urban League, New Directions Housing, the Metropolitan Housing Resource Center, the Center for Accessible Living, The Housing Partnership, and many others to invest in new units and protect existing ones.
Affordable housing funding can support homes of all sizes and in all parts of our city – from single family rehab in our historic neighborhoods to new, larger developments such as Riverport Landings, an intergenerational community under construction along the Cane Run Corridor. Riverport Landings includes Riverport Senior Living, Riverport Family Apartments and Riverport Family Scholar House. In eastern Jefferson County, the new Park Springs subdivision will provide more than 90 new, energy-efficient homes, half of which will be offered for sale to households at or below 80 percent of the area median income.
Virtually all of these developments are possible only because we leverage local funds with state and federal programs to cover construction costs and maintain an affordable rent or mortgage pricing. These funds are supported by critical tools like the federal low-income housing tax credits, federal and state historic tax credits and tax-exempt bonds.
The recent investments made by my administration, together with the Metro Council, are significant, but we know we must continue to invest. Our city will truly be prosperous only when all of our citizens have the opportunity to sleep safely in their own beds in a stable home every night.
We are working every day to make this vision a reality for all the people of Louisville, and I urge you to help us by contacting your Metro Council member at www.louisvilleky.gov/government/metro-council, or 502-574-1100, and supporting our proposed budget allocations for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and Louisville CARES.
Greg Fischer is the mayor of Louisville.