Community

A new preservation group in Louisville is looking to boost the city’s stock of affordable housing.

The nonprofit Vital Sites — which absorbed the group Preservation Louisville — plans to “use development and adaptive reuse as tools to build sustainable, healthy communities in Metro Louisville,” according to the group’s website. The group is dedicated to advocating for and developing the city’s vintage architecture.

One of Vital Sites’ first projects will be to rehabilitate five historic shotgun houses in the 1200 block of East Broadway, near Baxter Avenue. The houses were donated to Vital Sites last year as plans were being ironed out for the redevelopment of Phoenix Hill Tavern site.

The group is seeking funding from the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund to assist the rehab. Construction will start later this year.

The project will “serve as a demonstration vehicle for future revolving fund projects,” according to the group’s website.

The need for affordable housing is stark in Louisville.

Nearly 60,000 households here spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, according to U.S. Census data. Housing advocates estimate the city needs thousands of additional affordable units to meet the demand.

Families that spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing are by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be cost-burdened. They may struggle to afford other necessities such as food, clothing and medical care.

The plight to add affordable housing in Louisville got a big win earlier this year during the city’s annual budget process.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and the 26-member Metro Council allocated some $14 million for affordable housing efforts. Included in the funding is some $9 million for the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund — the biggest allocation to date for the group.

Vital Sites says they expect to share more details about the project in early October.

Jacob Ryan is the Metro Affairs reporter for WFPL.