LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Nearly a month in office, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg announced his first major move in addressing what advocates call a houselessness crisis in the city.
Mayor Greenberg announced a 'historic' three-part investment package to provide houseless people places to stay, medical attention and a pathway to permanent homes.
Greenberg's plan lays out the creation of a new community care campus, $8.25 million put toward preventing evictions, and $24 million to establish more permanent affordable housing -- an area in which experts estimate the city falls 30,000 units short.
"We're not going to wait to start opening things up. We will open buildings to provide these needed services as quickly as possible," Greenberg said.
As part of Greenberg's plan, a new 'community care campus' will be developed in the Smoketown neighborhood just east of I-65, along Breckinridge and Brook Streets.
The campus -- spread out across several buildings -- will provide medical respite care, temporary housing, connection to community services and more.
The Vu Guesthouse and Hotel buildings will be used to temporarily house more than 150 people at a time, according to Greenberg.
A medical respite facility with nurses on site will give houseless patients a place to get continuous treatment once released from the hospital.
"The proximity to the downtown medical campus, the proximity to the other part of the block the city already owns -- this would be the ideal location," Greenberg said.
Greenberg says he consulted several groups on the ground, including the Coalition for the Homeless, to move the plan forward. He says Metro Government purchased private property, including the C2 Event Venue, for nearly $7 million.
The care campus will also build upon the services of the Hope Village, a safe outdoor space which has provided wraparound services since April 2022.
Hope Village Founder Rev. Stachelle Bussey sees potential with the project.
"Some people do need continued care. Some people we know have been in the hospitals because they don't have a place to go to, so we'll see," she said. "The goal should just be that the care stays in the hands of the community."
The Mayor's administration says the care campus will assist in the transition to temporary or permanent housing, reducing hospital re-admissions.
City officials say the millions of dollars comes from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The Louisville Urban League (LUL) will receive $2 million with those funds going toward families and individuals struggling to afford permanent housing. The Urban League Team will specifically help clients with security deposits and first month’s rent.
Officials added the Association of Community Ministries will be redistributing $5 million to go toward direct rental assistance to thousands of families and individuals facing eviction, specifically households which have already applied for assistance through the Healthy At Home Eviction Relief Fund.
The last $1.25 million will go toward general mediation assistance and legal fees for families and individuals "navigating the complexities of eviction court."
Officials say the Metro is searching for partners to help create new permanent housing opportunities for low-income households at or below 50% of the area's median income, who will be eligible to apply.
“Today, instead of choosing between short-term and long-term solutions to this problem, we are choosing to make a permanent difference and do both,” Greenberg said. "This is just the first of many [moves], we will continue to find funds."
Greenberg says the majority of funding will be covered through federal programs and grants.
The care campus will also require renovations to buildings within the acquired space. Greenberg says that'll cost around $9 million. He says Louisville's Metro Council has already allocated funds toward this effort.
No timeline has been set yet for the project.
The Coalition for the Homeless released their new plan on Wednesday. For more information about that, please click here.
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