Mayor Greg Fischer joined local officials and developers to break ground on a new apartment project in Middletown on Wednesday, one of 22 developments receiving funding from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund this fiscal year. | Photo by Joe Sonka

The Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund announced on Wednesday that it would allocate $8.76 million of the city funds it received this fiscal year toward 22 construction projects that will create or preserve 1,115 affordable housing units throughout the city.

The announcement was celebrated in Middletown along with a ceremonial groundbreaking for one of those projects, the 80-unit Middletown Apartments, with Mayor Greg Fischer hailing the future developments as a sign of what Louisville can accomplish when it prioritizes funding for affordable housing.

“We have a need for about 60,000 affordable housing units in this community,” Fischer said. “So, this is a beautiful day today, but it’s really just a down payment on what needs to be done.”

LAHTF received full funding of $10 million for the first time ever in the budget approved by Metro Council last summer, following the $2.5 million it received in the previous year.

A Metro Council resolution in 2008 pledged to give $10 million annually to the LAHTF, but the $2.5 million appropriated in the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget amounted to 25 times the total it had received in all of the previous years combined.

The development companies and nonprofits receiving the funds in this current fiscal year will update and upgrade 775 affordable housing units, while 340 units will be either new construction or the renovation of a vacant and abandoned property. The 22 projects are spread out over eight Metro Council districts.

Christie McCravy, the executive director of LAHTF, told the crowd gathered at the announcement on Wednesday that “this is what happens when a trust fund is fully funded.”

“We can show you now what can happen when developers know there is money that may be available for their projects,” said McCravy, “and what is possible for the residents of our community when we all work together to make safe quality affordable housing a priority in this community.”

McCravy added that nearly $5 million of the allocations would be returned to the fund over the coming years, and the 22 development projects would together leverage more than $150 million in public and private funds.

A rendering of the proposed Middletown Apartments, which will include 80 units of affordable housing. | Photo by Joe Sonka

Housing Partnership Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to developing affordable housing, was the largest recipient of LAHTF funds with over $2.5 million for five projects.

These include a rehab of 89 units at York Towers near downtown, a new 24-unit multifamily development for refugee families on vacant property in District 5, the new Middletown Apartments in District 19, and the renovation of 11 single family homes in Districts 4, 5 and 6.

LDG Development received $1.74 million to construct 158 new affordable housing units among its 316-unit multifamily apartment development Jefferson Green in District 24.

LDG is the same development company that had its proposed Prospect Cove affordable housing project rejected by Metro Council last year, which led to the company suing the council for discrimination and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division opening an investigation into the council’s potential violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Mayor Fischer said that he was glad the city is now able to fund affordable housing after years of “emergency budgets” during the Great Recession. He praised Councilman Bill Hollander for pushing his colleagues on the council to fully fund LAHTF, calling him “a hero for many, many people in this community that will have a roof over their head.”

Fischer said that Louisville “is going through a real renaissance right now,” with “70,000 new jobs and $13 billion of construction taking place in their community,” but added that it was important “to make sure that everyone is going along for the ride, and it all starts with stable housing.”

Saying that it is hard to have a productive life without stable housing, Fischer added that while the United States may be the richest country on Earth as measured by “macro financial wealth,” but it is not when it comes to providing every citizen with housing, health care and food security. Asserting that America can provide such needs like other countries, Fischer urged people to advocate for such resources to their federal and state officials.

“The reality is, it’s a great investment,” said Fischer. “What happens now in our society is we pay for the consequences later of not having housing and health care and food. So let’s smarten up as a country and a state, and invest in those upfront.”

The mayor added that “if those in office don’t agree with us, we register people to vote and we vote for people that do agree with these types of values.”

Fischer praised Middletown Mayor Byron Chapman for embracing affordable housing in his small city, noting that “there are a lot of people in this community that can learn from you … I think we know what we’re talking about there.”

While not specifically naming the Prospect Cove controversy and its opposition by elected officials in Prospect, Fischer continued the same line of thought to address the matter.

“Affordable housing should be everywhere … Middletown, Prospect, Lyndon, Valley Station,” said Fischer, to applause. “That’s what makes strong communities. And sometimes people are fearful, for whatever reason, of things they don’t know about. So it’s important that they can see examples of how affordable housing everywhere enriches our city everywhere.”

LAHTF distributed $2.35 million in funding for six projects in the last fiscal year to create or preserve 326 affordable housing units.

McCravy told Insider Louisville that the preservation of 41 single-room housing units at the Chestnut Street Family YMCA’s 102-year old building is completely finished, while the rehab and preservation of 40 senior multifamily units in the Old School Apartments across from Churchill Downs in District 15 will be complete soon. Habitat for Humanity has also completed the construction of two homes on vacant lots.

Below is a listing of the projects receiving LAHTF allocations this year that was provided in a Fischer administration news release, including the amount allocated, the developer receiving the funds, and the council district the projects are located in:

  • $175,000 to Winterwood Property Management for the renovation and rehab of the 27 unit Rivertown Apartments complex in District 6
  • $1.74 million to LDG for the new construction of 158 units of a 316 unit multifamily apartment development in District 24
  • $1 million to Housing Partnership Inc. (HPI) for the rehab of the 89 units at York Towers in District 4
  • $450,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville for the new construction of 15 single family homes on vacant properties in Districts 1, 4, 5, and 16
  • $350,000 to New Directions Housing Corporation and River City Housing for the renovation and rehab of 7 vacant single family homes in District 4
  • $1 million to HPI and Urban Acupuncture for the new construction of a 24 unit multifamily development designed to house refugee families on a vacant property in District 5
  • $30,000 to HPI for Operation Victory, a collaboration between HPI and local unions to build a home on a vacant property for the purposes of housing a homeless veteran
  • $566,000 to Dayspring Community Living for the new construction of 3 single family homes on vacant properties in Districts 6 and 15, creating 9 single room occupancy housing units for the disabled
  • $58,000 to House of Ruth and River City Housing for the new construction of a duplex on a vacant property in District 4
  • $225,000 to HPI for the renovation and rehab of 11 vacant single family homes in District 4, 5 and 6
  • $500,000 to Allied Argenta for the renovation and rehab of 125 units of the Henry Greene Apartments in District 4
  • $1 million to Telesis Corp. for the renovation and rehab of 503 units at City View Park in District 4
  • $250,000 to HPI for the new construction of the 80 unit Middletown Apartments in District 19
  • $266,000 to Wabuck Co. for the renovation and rehab of the 16 unit Lions Arms I complex in District 1
  • $200,000 to AME Church and Allied Argenta for the renovation and rehab of the 15 units Greater Community Apartments in District 5
  • $300,000 to REBOUND, Inc. for the purchase and rehab of 4 vacant properties in District 4
  • $189,000 to APK Development for the purchase and rehab of 5 vacant single family homes in Districts 1 and 5
  • $330,000 to DF Property Holdings, LLC for the rehab of 11 vacant single family homes in Districts 4,5,6, and 15
  • $100,000 to Blackrock, LLC for the rehab of 12 units of a vacant multifamily complex in District 4
  • $34,000 to Yvonne and Crystal McAfee for the rehab of one vacant single family home in District 4
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Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]