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Local News Politics

Housing Authority Director Addresses Sheppard Square Demolition

The executive director of the Louisville Metro Housing Authority says the concentration of poverty in the Sheppard Square housing complex attracts predators and razing the debilitated structure is a necessary step to revitalize the historic Smoketown neighborhood.

Earlier this year, the city received a $22 million HOPE VI grant to tear down the 70-year-old complex with its 326-units. The plan is to replace Sheppard Square with a mixed income neighborhood that will cost around $157 million. Housing authority officials will meet with residents Thursday to discuss plans to either relocate or how to meet the criteria for returning to the new complex.

Louisville Metro Housing Authority Executive Director Tim Barry acknowledges the relocation process will be difficult for residents, but says the old barracks-style housing system is abysmal and most residents in the area want to leave.

“It needs to be replaced and it’s not fit for human habitation from the standpoint of its layout and design,” he says. “We can do better and we should do better…and I think that concentration of poverty stigmatizes people. I truly do, because it says to them in no uncertain terms because of your economic situation you’re not worthy of better housing. And I think that’s absolutely wrong.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Fischer: Sheppard Square to be Demolished

In a surprise announcement Friday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the city has received a $22 million federal grant to raze the historic Sheppard Square housing complex in the Smoketown neighborhood.

The plan is to build a mixed-income neighborhood to replace the 67-year-old complex, which could take years but would invest $167 million in the area.

City officials say the bulk of money will come from low-income housing tax credits, which affordable housing advocates have criticized as being out of reach for poorer families.

Metro Government attempted to raze the 327-unit complex two years ago, but failed to secure the funding. At the time residents had mixed feelings about the city’s plan, with many saying the deteriorating facades needed to be torn down and various social ills plaguing the area had not improved.

Others, however, objected to the demolition and questioned whether tearing down the oldest African-American housing complex and scattering poorer residents across the city was the best solution.

This will be the city’s third public housing project razed with funds from the Hope VI program, which is set up to break up pockets of poverty by demolishing old barracks-style public housing facilities.

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Local News

Ministry Challenges Others to Match Funds for Low-Income Households

The Association of Community Ministries has issued a monetary challenge of $7,000 to East Louisville Community Ministry, Inc. to match funds that will help low-income residents in east downtown neighborhoods.

The association is the umbrella group for 15 local ministries in the city that will be responsible for raising $7,000, for which they will receive a total of $14,000 in matching funds for households in the Butchertown, Shelby Park, Smoketown and Phoenix Hill neighborhoods.

Thee emergency financial assistance agency is a faith-based community ministry effort sponsored by local churches with the aim to stabilize impoverished households.

“We are hopeful that members of the community who may have a few extra dollars to give will help our ministry to raise funds for the challenge,” says ACM executive director Robert Peters. “All donations are
appreciated and welcomed.”

Last year, the effort served over 600 households, including hundreds of school-age children who were assisted. In addition, food boxes and commodities including fresh and frozen produce were provided to low-income residents.