Louisville Homeless Advocates Begin Advocating for Stimulus-Funded Solutions | New
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDR) – Standing under an I-65 overpass on a hot July afternoon, Jeff Gill could only imagine what it was like for the dozen living in tents on the sidewalk there .
“Very rough,” he remarked, as two men were washing clothes by hand in a nearby green space.
As the founder of Hip Hop Cares knows firsthand, Louisville is experiencing a homelessness crisis, and it is one he says an increase in evictions will only get worse across town.
“Not just Jefferson Street,” said Gill. “J-town, Fern Creek, the Highlands, every part of the Louisville metro.”
But for now, there’s a reason to hope – a reason of around $ 340 million. Louisville has millions of dollars in the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the recent federal stimulus, which the city can devote to various projects, expenses and initiatives.
“Low-income / no-income housing should be at the top of the list,” said Gill. “Housing is our number one problem.
City Councilor Bill Hollander, D-9, chair of the Metro Council Budget Committee, agrees that homelessness and funding more affordable housing should be a priority, in addition to public safety, workforce training artwork and more.
“I think we can make a real difference,” he said.
In the coming weeks, Hollander says he’s eager to hear ideas from the community in a series of public hearings, which could influence how the city spends stimulus money.
“We need people to come to the table with good ideas on these kinds of proposals,” Hollander said. “I really hope that in ten years we will look back and say, ‘This money has been really well used to make a difference.’ I hope we don’t look back ten years and say to ourselves, “What did we do with this money?” “
When it comes to housing, Gill already has a list of ideas: safe outdoor spaces, mini-house options, and better mental health / addiction recovery services for the homeless.
“It’s not going to get better doing things the way we did,” he said.
He hopes others will join him in tackling the crisis.
The Homeless Coalition made a similar appeal to its supporters in an email on Friday, which asked them to “ask the Metro Council to fund housing for poor Louisvillians.”
“Please tell them that it is finally time to tackle homelessness and housing insecurity,” the email concluded.
Community members can communicate their priorities to the board by clicking here.
The first public hearing will be held on Saturday, July 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Founders Union Building on UofL’s ShelbyHurst campus (9001 Shelbyville Road).
Two more will take place in the following weeks:
- Monday, July 19 – South West Regional Library (9725, Dixie Road) from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Monday July 26 – West Broadway Church of Christ (3921 West Broadway) from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Hollander says that after these sessions, council members will work together – and with Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration – to develop priority areas.
Spending decisions could be made in three to four months. The city councilor said the city must have a plan to spend all federal funds by the end of 2024.
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