When Christie McCravy steps into the role of executive director of the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund later this month, she knows the challenges facing her will be immense.
“The biggest challenge is to obtain a renewable source of public funding that was promised,” said McCravy, who will start March 23.
Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government started the LAHTF in 2008, and Metro Council passed an ordinance that set a goal of dedicating $10 million of public revenues to the trust fund.
Since its inception, however, the trust fund has only received about $1.5 million in funding. LAHTF’s board of directors have recommended increasing the insurance tax premium by 1 percent, which would generate about $9.7 million of the trust fund, but nothing has come of the proposal.
Earlier this year, housing activists protested outside the groundbreaking for the more than $300 million Omni, a hotel and high-end residence under construction downtown.
“Our city officials have found funds to subsidize this luxury housing. Now it’s time for them to invest in housing that is affordable for Louisville citizens at every income level,” activist Beverly Duncan stated via a news release at the time.
According to the LAHTF, Louisville needs 60,000 more affordable housing units. McCravy said LAHTF must work with the city and other stakeholders to find a sustainable income source.
“We need more units,” she told Insider Louisville, adding that people also need to be educated on what affordable housing means. “Affordable is truly just 30 percent of your gross income.”
As your income rises, so does amount you can afford to spend on housing and vice versa, McCravy said.
She couldn’t comment on how she believes Louisville’s investment in affordable housing compares to other cities, but said: “That is going to be one of the first things I’m going to look at, how we compare on a larger scale.”
McCravy currently serves as director for housing and financial empowerment with the Louisville Urban League, a nonprofit that offers housing, job training and youth services.
“In my current role, I work to serve those who are in need of either obtaining or preserving affordable housing,” McCravy said. “This position to me is just an extension of my current work.”
In a news release, Natalie Harris, chair of LAHTF’s board of directors, welcomed McCravy to the organization.
“We are so excited to have someone with such a breadth of housing knowledge and such dedication to our local community,” Harris said. “We know that she will effectively manage and leverage all funds allocated from our local government to allow this fund to begin addressing the great housing need in Louisville.”