The city’s outdoor space is still not ready to serve unprotected residents

Louisville’s long-awaited safe outdoor space for homeless residents is still not ready to provide shelter or services to homeless people, despite Mayor Greg Fischer’s plans to open the site by the end of March .

Speaking at a press conference on March 24, Fischer said supply chain challenges had caused delays.

“We hope they don’t interrupt us here as we approach the end of the month,” Fischer said, standing in front of two rows of isolated tents that have since been removed.

An accompanying press release said the site on the border of Old Louisville and Smoketown, now known as Hope Village, “should open by March 31, barring any issues outside of our control, such as weather conditions and supply chain issues”.

But in April, Hope Village remains fenced and under construction, marking the third time the city has pushed back the opening date for the $1.5 million project. Louisville Metro Government Homelessness Communications Coordinator Julia Dake told KyCIR in an email that the city continues to make progress toward completing Hope Village, but did not provide any further updates. scheduled opening date.

Alex Harrisson

The Hope Village staff trailer arrived just days before the scheduled March 31 opening date.

Dake also attributed the delay to other supply chain issues, in particular an out-of-stock electrical panel needed for the individual outlets supplied to each tent.

But when KyCIR visited the site on Thursday, Hope Village was almost empty. The tents exhibited at last week’s press conference were gone, leaving only ten wooden platforms. The platforms are said to hold a total of 48 tents that can accommodate up to 53 people at a time.

A personnel trailer that arrived last week still has its windows covered in plywood. No one was seen working on the site at 2:30 p.m. and the front door was left unlocked.

The adjacent building where the city plans to create transitional housing for residents of Hope Village as they seek permanent housing is also unfinished. The city plans to spend $7.5 million to renovate the building, formerly the chancery for the Archdiocese of Louisville, but as of Thursday many windows were smashed or boarded up, and the front doorstep remains littered with broken glass.

Alex Harrison

The building that will eventually house some of the services provided to homeless people in Hope Village, still boarded up and in need of repairs on the day the site is scheduled to open.

The city took the first steps towards Hope Village last year on July 28, when a press release from Fischer’s office announced plans to build a safe outdoor space as part of a four-phase plan to fight address chronic homelessness and invest in affordable housing. The goal is to create a designated residence for homeless Louisvillians while they receive resources such as mental health support, addiction recovery and assistance finding permanent housing.

On August 20, the city announced that it had selected the property at 212 E. College Street for the project. The Mail Log reported in October, the city was able to open the site “as early as mid-November”, and on November 23, Mayor Fischer signed an order allocating $1.5 million in U.S. bailout funds to the project.

Local nonprofit The Hope Buss, Inc. won a tender to operate the site in January, with an opening scheduled for February.

But at the March 24 press conference, the site was still not open. The founder and executive director of Hope Buss, the Reverend Stachelle Bussey, said at the time that the first recommendations from homeless residents to stay in Hope Village were “coming in”.

Bussey did not respond to a request for comment.

WFPL reporter Yasmine Jumaa contributed reporting.

Contact Alex Harrison at [email protected]