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As Louisville announces ARP plans, groups hope to snag funds for affordable housing

Mayor Fischer announced several focus areas for the $388 million the city received from the ARP. Affordable housing had broad community support during public input.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As millions of dollars in COVID relief head to Louisville, city officials are taking the next step in dividing up the $388 million dollars awarded.

Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Council announced their top priorities, including housing and homelessness — two major topics mentioned in public surveys and meetings.

Feed Louisville is one of the many local groups working to solve the city’s housing problem. They recently began a new initiative to fill the gaps for people struggling to find housing, and also help those in need navigate the voucher system.

“We're learning a lot along the way, we're by no means experts,” co-founder Donny Greene said.

The group has helped 11 people find homes, just a fraction of those in need. That’s why Greene wants to see incoming ARP money directed to solving chronic homelessness.

"Housing that is done with dignity and done right, but that can be attainable by people who work regular jobs,” he said.

RELATED: Food access groups asking Louisville leaders for federal relief funds to fight food insecurity

Monday, the city committed to make affordable housing a priority. After thousands of online and in-person responses at ARP funding sessions in favor, Fischer laid out housing as one of the city's areas of focus for funding.

“That includes transitional housing, permanent supportive housing and other forms of affordable housing," Fischer said.

But the money will be spread around to four different priority areas and several other city recommendations. Organizations like the Affordable Housing Trust Fund will pitch their ideas, rallying support for their causes.

For Executive Director Christie McCravy, that includes building affordable homes to solve the city's 30,000-unit shortage.

"This is a one-time shot, we'll never in my lifetime see it again," McCravy said. "But it's not going to be enough, it's not going to solve every issue."

RELATED: How should Louisville spend American Rescue Plan funding? Affordable housing a top priority

The city did not say how much would go to each area, though council member Bill Hollander said only that housing will be a priority.

"We are talking about a large amount of money here and I'm confident we'll be spending more in the homelessness and housing category than we ever have before in this community,” Hollander said.

Feed Louisville hopes to get their cut of the cash, though Greene said he wished the council would select just one priority for the funding.

"We could end chronic homelessness with that money tomorrow, literally,” Greene said.

The city will soon start taking project proposals from different groups in the community. Progress can be tracked online.

RELATED: City of Louisville to resume clearing homeless camps

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