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Louisville community group receives $2.1 million for community center expansion plans, core programs

Congressman John Yarmuth says YouthBuild Louisville has helped many young people build a stronger future for more than two decades.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-03) visited Louisville's Smoketown Friday to announce some extra funding a community group is receiving.

YouthBuild Louisville's Smoketown Laundry & Community Center received two federal awards totaling $2.1 million to not only finish the second phase of the community center project, but to fund other core programs for two more years according to a press release.

Of that $2.1 million, $600,000 came from the House Appropriations Committee’s Community Project Funding program, and the rest came from the U.S. Department of Labor as part of a funding bill Yarmuth supported in Congress.

The Smoketown project is supposed to transform a vacant lot into a laundromat and community space to help neighbors "improve health equity, including a focus on economic wellbeing, social support, and community safety," according to the release.

"It makes me feel good because the community needs it," said William Tillford, who was born and raised in Smoketown.

The lot is at the corner of East Breckenridge Street and South Hancock Street.

"These things are present in a thriving community in the hopes of individuals living in this neighborhood, and in our city at large is based on having these fundamental necessities," said Kal Carey, the chief operating officer for YouthBuild.

In addition to the community center, YouthBuild President and CEO Lynn Rippy say they'll also have housing for kids in the program.

"We knew that if we had them housed together, and we were watching and supporting them with adult supervision, that we would have something that, you know, could really help them transform quickly," said Rippy.

Yarmuth says to collaborate with YouthBuild Louisville like this is a no-brainer.

"That's the kind of contribution that YouthBuild makes in Louisville, and is worth every penny of the federal investment that we were able to get," Yarmuth said.

Yarmuth says YouthBuild Louisville has helped many young people build a stronger future for more than two decades.

“This funding will help break the cycle of poverty in the heart of our city, giving residents a space to thrive and the support needed to chart a path to success," Yarmuth said.

This is one of 10 Louisville projects funded through Yarmuth's requests according to the release.

The ribbon cutting for the laundromat is scheduled for next month.

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