US Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan was in Louisville today to announce a $22 million grant to revitalize the Sheppard Square public housing development and the surrounding community.
The grant is part of the Hope VI program and will be used to raze the current development and replace it with mixed-income housing.
Secretary Donovan praised Metro Government’s innovation and history with the Hope VI program while commending the work of local government legislators and officials for putting this development together.
“You know so often we talk about big government versus small government, what we’re celebrating today is smart government,” says Donovan “a partnership between the public and private communities and sectors that can change people’s lives that’s the kind of transformation we’re gonna see at Sheppard Square.”
This grant is the fourth Hope VI grant for Louisville. The nearly 70-year-old Sheppard Square complex includes 326 units. The new neighborhood will include an additional 128 units.
Most in attendance cheered the announcement, but backed the concerns of Reverend Charles Elliott who spoke out against the displacement of low-income residents.
However, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan says the Hope VI program is committed to ensuring that this transition doesn’t abandon residents as some projects have in the past.
“One of the reasons why we funded this application is because every single unit of public housing is gonna be replaced here,” he says “there is one for one replacement, so everyone of those, ‘the least among us’, is gonna have a place to live.”
Officials expect that most of the current residents will be moved by the end of the year.
The project will cost a total of about $157 million. Low income housing tax credits will cover most of the cost.