LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A new program launching in Louisville is offering up to $50,000 to 200 families to clean up and and purchase homes in neighborhoods there were previously affected by redlining. 

According to the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, redlining is defined as, “a discriminatory practice of denying or offering less favorable loans for housing to people in certain neighborhoods or areas based on their demographics or perceived risk.” The fund goes on to state that the practice, “contributed to the racial segregation and inequality that shaped the way America looks today.”

The term originated in the 1930s when the fund said lenders would draw red lines on maps to mark areas they would avoid.

Christie McCravy, the executive director of the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, said redlining has had a “generational impact on people in our community.”

In December 2022, Louisville Metro Council allocated $12.2 million to the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund. That money is being used to create the REVERT program, which will provide the $50,000 to help homeownership in these areas.

“It is the statement to this community that not only do we understand there were wrongs that were done, but we’re willing to make the investments to fix it,” said Keisha Dorsey, who serves as Mayor Craig Greenberg’s deputy chief of staff.

Dorsey helped create the vision behind the REVERT program, which stands for Restoring Each Viable Economically Redlined Territory.

“It literally is a dream come true,” she told reporters after a news conference Monday.

According to a news release, 200 families can use the funds to update a property for code compliance and enhanced energy efficiency, as well as for improved decor and interior design. In some cases, funds can be used to demolish and existing structure, clear the lot and build a better structure.

“We talk about the rise in crime in our community, but what if we had more folks living in our vacant and abandoned homes that actually lived in our communities?” Dorsey said.

Out of the $12.2 million, $10 million is available for eligible families who purchase a property in a previously redlined area. Those with the program said to qualify for the funds, people should also have a family lineage tied to an area that was previously redlined.  $1 million will go to the Rotary Club for its West Louisville Housing Initiative, and the remaining funds will help market, implement and document the REVERT program.

The property must be located in a previously redlined neighborhood and all improvements must adhere to guidelines established by the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund. 

“We have to acknowledge that redlining isn’t just a horrible injustice that occurred in the past,” Mayor Craig Greenberg said Monday. “It’s something that still haunts us today.”

Greenberg said to expect more announcements Thursday surrounding affordable housing. That’s when he will present his first budget proposal to Louisville Metro Council.

The funds are forgivable as long as the applicant is an owner occupant for at least 15 years. 

Tamika Jackson, senior outreach manager for REVERT, said applications for the program will likely launch in mid-May. 

To reach out to Jackson, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

To see if an area qualifies, click here.

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