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Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Louisville nonprofit receives $1.2 million grant to help seniors age in place

By meerna Jun12,2024

The nonprofit New Directions will use a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help Louisville seniors install handrails, door modifications, wheelchair ramps and other home accessibility improvements.

City officials say the grant will help seniors stay in their homes as they age, a key goal of Louisville Metro’s plan to create and preserve 15,000 affordable housing units by 2027.

Seniors make up about 15% of Louisville’s population, or about 90,000 people. And according to the city’s 2024 Housing Needs Assessment, that number is growing. As the city’s population continues to age, there is a growing “demand for age-, ability- and mobility-appropriate housing,” according to the assessment, which also found that Louisville has a 36,000-unit affordable housing shortage for its lowest-income residents.

New Directions Housing Corporation manages hundreds of affordable rental apartments throughout Jefferson County. However, Lori Hudson Flanery, president and CEO of the nonprofit organization, said the grant will mainly help seniors living in their own homes.

“It’s really about making it easy for people to bathe, to be able to get up off the furniture and to be able to get in and out of the house,” Flanery said during a news conference Tuesday announcing the grant.

The grants will be available to low-income residents over the age of 62. This nonprofit organization primarily serves people living in west and southwest Louisville.

During Tuesday’s announcement, Jennifer Riley Collins, HUD’s regional administrator, said she wished a similar scholarship program had existed when she was growing up in Mississippi. She said she remembers black matrons leaving her neighborhood as they aged because there was no one to make their homes more affordable.

“If my dad or someone hadn’t built that ramp, there would be no nonprofit that I knew of that we could rely on,” Collins said. “And so (they) disappeared from the neighborhood and the neighborhood changed.”

At a news conference, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said allowing seniors to age in place is one of the strategies outlined in the My Home Louisville plan released by his administration last year.

“It’s not just housing affordability that’s so important,” Greenberg said. “It’s also about safe and high-quality affordable housing.”

Greenberg said the grant would give seniors, “who are some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” a safer place to live.

Anyone interested in receiving assistance with accessibility improvements can contact New Directions online or by calling 502-589-2272.

By meerna

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