LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Metro government officials and housing advocates are looking for ways to expand affordable housing opportunities in the city, which is approximately 31,000 units short of being able to provide housing for all of its impoverished households.
Here’s an explainer on what defines affordable housing in the city and a closer look at the shortage.
What is affordable housing?
Affordable housing is housing in which individuals can afford rent while also having money left over for needs, such as health care, food and transportation.
The federal government defines housing to be affordable when a family pays no more than 30% of its gross income on housing costs, including utilities. Therefore, what is considered affordable varies based off how much a household makes.
For example, if a household has an income of $25,000 per year, affordable housing would entail any housing that is less than or equal to $625 per month in rent and utilities.
How much affordable housing is needed in Louisville?
According to a 2019 study by the city, Louisville’s area median income — the median income for a family of four — was $71,500 in 2018.
Those in the greatest need of affordable housing are households in the 30% area median income group whose income is less than or equal to the federal poverty level, which was $25,100 for a family of four in 2018.
But for the 57,895 households in Louisville making less than or as much as the federal poverty level, there were only 26,483 affordable homes — meaning the city still needs 31,412 affordable housing units for the poorest households, according to the study.
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What is Louisville doing to address its affordable housing shortage?
The Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund is one of the leading entities working on the issue.
Created as a private nonprofit in 2008 by the Metro Council, the trust fund provides grants and loans for affordable housing-related activities, such as rental housing development and down-payment assistance.
Louisville officials gave $40 million in American Rescue Plan money to the trust fund to build new affordable housing throughout the city this year. Mayor Greg Fischer said that deposit brought the city’s total fund investment to $100 million since he took office in 2011.
Still, Louisville has a long way to go: It will cost more than $3.5 billion to create the more than 31,000 affordable housing units that are needed, according to the city’s 2019 study.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Louisville affordable housing: What to know about the city’s shortage