How the Louisville Metro Council is Creating Pathways to Homeownership
Homeownership is a vital component of a thriving community. A report compiled by the National Association of REALTORS® confirms, “Homeownership supports financial opportunities for households, the strength and growth of communities across the country, and the vitality of our national economy.”
The Louisville Metro Council subscribes to this philosophy as well, as evidenced by their allocation of more than $9 million in funds to address housing disparities and create a pathway for equality in homeownership.
Of that $9 million, The Louisville Metro Council has set aside $5 million in funds for the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund (LAHTF). A large portion of that is earmarked for the development and rehabilitation of vacant or abandoned properties.
David James, the Louisville Metro Council president, told Wave 3 News, “We have 5,000 abandoned, vacant properties in our city, all concentrated in one area. We are going to be proactively trying to search to do the right things.”
For years, vacant houses have contributed to a seemingly unending cycle of neighborhood deterioration. Jack Buntein, a homeowner is South Louisville, told Wave 3 News that he has seen people coming in and out of vacant homes in the area and worries that they are using the uninhabited homes for illegal purposes.
Buntein, and city leaders like Christie McCravy, the executive director at Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, believe consistently supporting homeownership with funds of this magnitude is a great first step to revitalizing these communities. McCravy notes, “If we want to really see a dent in our community and show the compassion that we need in this community, [we] have to fund at this level on a regular basis.”
- Adopt a Block: Part of the LAHTF addresses the heavy concentration of vacant properties in certain areas. $1 million will be used in the “Adopt a Block” Pool. This initiative will develop and rehab single-family units concentrated within a city block. The program will create lease-purchase and direct purchase opportunities in those areas.
- Revolving Loan Fund: To ensure that funds remain available for this initiative regardless of the fiscal year, a Revolving Loan Fund to the Trust Fund of $3 million will be created.
Wave 3 News reports the following additional budget allocations for the upcoming fiscal year.
- $2.5 million for programs that support home repair, address vacant and abandoned properties, and increase homeownership.
- $1 million for a new homeowner and rental repair loan fund to support the improvement of residences.
- $413,400 to clean up neighborhoods and alleys which are often used for illegal dumping.
- $170,000 to hire two Code Enforcement Officers with Develop Lousiville to help revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Louisville finds itself facing not only the challenges of COVID-19, but also increased unrest due to structural racism and an economic recession. In a statement released by Mayor Greg Fischer after the funding was approved, he said these challenges “present an opportunity to enact substantive transformation on many fronts, including building a more just, equitable and compassionate community.”
He continued by saying, “And that starts with addressing the root causes for disparity, which is why I am pleased we were able to work with Council to increase funding for affordable housing, and add funding to address vacant and abandoned properties and other neighborhood-level investments.”
Supporters of Louisville Metro Council’s financial commitment to increasing the accessibility of homeownership, seem hopeful that the funds will play a role in the city’s larger plan to increase equality throughout the community.