Community

Housing advocates are continuing to call on Louisville Metro Council members to fund the city’s affordable housing program.

This week, they changed their tune a bit.

Nearly every council meeting is filled with people showing support for funding the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Some hold signs, others make addresses to the council.

That didn’t change this Thursday. What did change was how they addressed the council.

Mackenzie Berry, Jalen Posey and Jasmine Frederick turned to slam poetry to voice their support for finding a dedicated source of money for the city’s affordable housing trust fund.

“The only sight I see, is politicians climbing money trees,” Posey said. “We all know hope doesn’t pay the bills, poor people never get the mortgage deals.”

Berry turned to facts in her poem. She pointed out the thousands of families in Louisville who are waiting for the opportunity to move into affordable housing. She also criticized city leaders for helping finance the construction of the luxury Omni Hotel and Residences downtown while neglecting to fully fund the housing trust fund.

“What are you investing in,” she asked. “The people of your city or luxury?”

The city’s affordable housing trust fund was established by the council in 2008 and provides grants and loans for the development and rehabilitation of housing priced toward low-income residents.

The fund has received fiscal support from the city in past years through one-off appropriations. But without a dedicated source of funding, the program is limited in its ability to address what advocates call a growing need for affordable housing in Louisville.

Advocates are calling for a $10 million annual funding stream for the program.

Nearly 60,000 households here spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, and nearly 24,000 of those spend at least 50 percent of their income on housing, according to U.S. Census data.

Families that spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing are considered 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.

Jacob Ryan is the Metro Affairs reporter for WFPL.