Louisville Metro Identifies Property to Pilot Safe Outdoor Space for Homeless Residents

The Louisville Metropolitan Government will purchase the property at 212 E. College St. and pilot a safe outdoor space where homeless people can live temporarily, secure their belongings, and access enveloping support services. In the future, the property could become a site for affordable housing.

Louisville Metro has agreed to buy the property for $ 1.6 million and estimates it will cost $ 1.4 million to outfit and operate the site for the use of the safe outdoor space.

“As a compassionate city, our goal is to help those who live in dangerous and unsanitary situations on our streets make the transition to a more stable shelter, and then put them on the path to permanent, supportive housing.” , said Mayor Greg Fischer. “The Safe Outdoor Space will provide another shelter option for people who have repeatedly refused indoor shelter despite encouragement from our outreach teams. “

LEARN MORE ABOUT HELP PLANS FOR HOMELESS PEOPLE

With the purchase of 212 E. College St. completed and an operations manager in place, residents will be allowed to pitch tents, while the city works on the construction of semi-permanent shelters and bathrooms. common areas, including showers. Portable toilets and showers will be on site until a permanent structure is built. Residents will be allowed to have pets on the site.

Louisville Metro is issuing a Funding Availability Notice to identify an operations manager to oversee the safe outdoor space and provide necessary security and social service personnel. The goal is to have health care and housing navigation on-site, as well as staff who can connect individuals with other social service providers nearby.

At the same time, the City will study the potential for the development of affordable housing on the site. “We know we cannot make real progress on ending homelessness without more affordable housing,” said the mayor.

The Safe Outdoor Space is part of a multi-pronged approach announced in July for creating shelters and housing for the homeless. In addition to outdoor space, Louisville Metro is working to identify transitional indoor housing and more permanent supportive housing options, as well as to increase funding for affordable housing.

“This is a good start in helping our citizens experiencing homelessness,” said Metro Council President David James.

“The only solution to homelessness is housing. Until we solve our deficit of over 31,000 homes for families at the bottom of the ladder, we need all the options we can have for a safe transitional shelter. This space is one of those options, ”said District 4 Councilor Jecorey Arthur, whose neighborhood will house the Safe Outdoor Space.

Homelessness and affordable housing have been identified as the top priorities to spend the city’s remaining share of federal funding for the US Rescue Plan (ARP). Last night, a Metropolitan Council committee took action to affirm those priorities by sending out a resolution for full council consideration.

“The growing number of homeless neighbors in Louisville should make us think about what we can do, including things we have never tried before. This is a temporary first step. The solution to homelessness is housing, and we need a lot more permanent supportive housing and other affordable housing in Louisville. It’s a Metro Council priority for US bailout funds, ”said Metro Council budget chairman Bill Hollander (D-9).

Mayor Fischer pointed out that the Safe Outdoor Space pilot project is just one of the city’s many efforts to end homelessness in our community.

In the fiscal year 22 budget alone, the city allocated:

  • $ 10 million to the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, bringing the total investment in the Trust Fund and Louisville CARES to over $ 66 million;
  • $ 3 million in down payment assistance to help close the income and wealth gap between majority and minority communities by helping more Louisville families become homeowners; and
  • Over $ 20 million in grants to community partners and Metro agencies for housing and support services, specifically related to homelessness and affordable housing.

The Mayor concluded his remarks today by thanking the many individuals and organizations, including the Coalition for the Homeless, “who have dedicated their time and money to help those in our community who experience homelessness.

“You are living our community goal of becoming an even more compassionate community, which we define as work to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential. “