Last Thursday, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that Kentucky public housing departments would receive $30 million in allocations for capital improvements.
Louisville was allocated $7.8 million, an amount that Louisville Metro Housing Authority executive director Tim Barry called, “comparable to what we’ve gotten the last few years,” according to the Courier-Journal. These much needed funds will go toward maintenance and repair work on public housing sites throughout the city. Tim Barry told the C-J that the money would be used for parking lot repair at Dosker Manor (pictured above), upgrading heating and cooling systems at the St. Catherine elderly project, and gutter and siding upgrades at a number of sites across the city.
Previously, LMHA and HUD announced that the Beecher Terrace Houses have been selected to be rebuilt as part of the federal “Choice Neighborhoods” program.
This HUD money could be used for repair, renovation, modernization, and even to build new housing stock. The nation is losing around 10,000 units of public housing each year while the waiting list to enter public housing continues to sit at 4,000 in need of public housing and 18,000 in need of Section 8, according to LMHA.
Given the lack of available units, and a list of thousands of already waiting families and individuals, I can’t help but ask if there isn’t a more “compassionate” (not to mention innovative) way of addressing both the state of public housing stock and the lack of affordable housing options for Louisville’s underserved residents than fixing a parking lot? Given a national need for $25.6 billion in large-scale repairs across 1.1 million units, are these small financial infusions too little, too late?