Local News

U of L Extends Services to Help Low-Income Middle and High School Students Succeed

The University of Louisville has received a federal grant to help disadvantaged students prepare for college.

U of L’s Talent Search program targets middle and high school students and provides them with academic and personal counseling.

Roy Sutton is a counselor who plans on working with students from Western Middle School. He’s also a graduate of U of L’s Upward Bound program, which is similar to the new initiative. But with the Talent Search program, counselors will work in the schools to help students recognize that college is an option.

Local News

Jackson Woods Renovations Underway

An affordable-housing development in Louisville’s Shelby Park and Smoketown neighborhoods is being renovated with help from private donors and the federal stimulus package.

The Jackson Woods apartments were built in 1972, but have needed repairs for several years. Officials Monday announced that a $7.7 million renovation project is in progress.

The New Directions Housing Corporation owns Jackson Woods. Director Joe Gliessner says the renovations will also be beneficial to the surrounding neighborhood.

“If they look good, people around them are going to make their houses look good,” he says. “Many times, people look at renters as being the least involved and the least caring, and we think as good stewards on behalf of the renters, we have a role to make these places the best they can be.”

Much of the money for the project comes from the federal government and the stimulus package. The rest comes from private sources. Gleissner says the project will be complete next June.

Local News

Summer LIHEAP Assistance Now Available

by Gabe Bullard

Summer assistance is now available in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Applications for one-time assistance for paying energy bills will be accepted starting Monday.

LIHEAP is generally only active during the winter, but due to the extreme heat, $311,000 will be distributed this week in Louisville.

The local Community Action Partnership will distribute the funds. Debbie Belt is the CAP spokesperson.

“There are a lot of families who are on fixed incomes and when you have a spike in your electric bills sometimes there’s not extra money set aside to help with that,” she says.

To qualify for assistance, Louisvillians must have a household income no more than 30 percent above the poverty level.

Environment Local News

KY Launches "Clean Energy Corps"

Kentucky has launched a new program designed to weatherize low income homes and save both residents and state government money on utility bills.  The Clean Energy Corps also includes plans to put more people to work making eligible homes more energy efficient.  Part of the money for the program will come from the anticipated federal stimulus package, which must be spent by the end of 2010.  Finance and Administration Secretary Jonathan Miller says that means the state must hurry to get the new green collar workforce ready.

“It will be incumbent on us to work right away to get folks across the state trained in auditing, trained in green construction.  A lot of this will involve folks that are in the construction business but are out of jobs right now because of the lack of growth in that area, and giving them the special skills they need for these green technologies,” says Miller.

Some of the training efforts will take place at community colleges.  The program is in a pilot phase now, but Miller says he expects the Clean Energy Corps to create more than 3000 new jobs.

Local News

Food, Heat, Shelter Aid Still Available for Louisvillians

83,000 Louisvillians are still without power after last week’s ice storm.  Hundreds are still spending their nights in shelters throughout Jefferson County.  Nine warming centers also remain open across the city.  And Mayor Jerry Abramson says facilities are ready to help supply low income families with other assistance.
“All the Neighborhood Places will be open to be able to pick up groceries or to file for low income help in terms of heating,” says Abramson.

The Mayor says Meals on Wheels delivery resumes today as well.  Local fire stations will help fill in gaps on routes where volunteers still aren’t able to travel.

Local News

New Pediatric Program at UK Pairs Doctors and Lawyers

A new program at Kentucky Children’s Hospital and the University of Kentucky’s pediatrics department could help low income children tackle health problems with the help of both doctors and lawyers.  Program director Doctor Kim Northrip says low income children’s health can be affected by their living and family situations. She says doctors can heal the body, but lawyers can heal the family.

“Mostly what we’re doing is called preventative law, just like preventative medicine, to help that family not have to move out of that apartment, or not lose that apartment, or not to lose their job,”says Northrip.

Northrip says this kind of collaboration is a first for Kentucky.  The model began in Boston and now there are dozens of similar programs throughout the country.

Local News

Summer Heat Relief Extended; Winter Heat Help to Begin

As Louisville metro’s summer heat relief assistance program winds up, the winter assistance program is about to begin. Program director Andrew Bates says that he anticipates utility bills will be high during the winter months. People needing help can begin applying for a subsidy in October. That part of the program lasts six weeks. And it can serve as many people as are qualified. Bates says emergency funding for people whose utilities are about to be shut off kicks in this January.

“We will be able to provide funding for the subsidy phase. But in terms of the amount of money that will be remaining for the crisis phase, there’s not been any increase in funding to help us this year,” says Bates.

Bates says utility bills have dogged many low income Louisvillians this year. The city’s heat relief program received some extra funding in August to help people pay those bills. It ran out in just three days.