May 9, 2016. The Courier-Journal.

Mayor Greg Fischer will be given at least a thousand reasons to adequately support the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund in his upcoming budget as community organizers plan a demonstration outside his office Tuesday morning.

Led by the group Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together, or CLOUT, housing advocates are expected gather on the front steps of Metro Hall, 527 W Jefferson St., to display and deliver more than 1,000 cards from residents asking the mayor to allocate $5 million in his upcoming budget for the trust fund.

“We need to make people a higher priority than pavement and sidewalks,” Beverly Duncan, CLOUT’s co-president, said.

Activists point out that other cities such as Lexington and Nashville, are putting more toward affordable housing while Louisville officials have “continued to underfund” the trust, Duncan said.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, for instance, recently pledged $10 million will go toward boosting affordable housing in her spending plan.Lexington’s affordable housing trust fund helped build 433 homes in the past 18 months compared to 40 homes in Louisville over the past eight years, according to CLOUT.

Asked if Fischer plans on putting any public dollars toward the housing trust fund in this year’s budget, spokesman Chris Poynter said: “The mayor will unveil the budget to council” on May 26.

It is estimated approximately 60,000 Louisville families need more affordable housing built because they spend more than one-third of their annual income on housing costs. Studies show about 24,000 households are considered “severely burdened” by those costs and spend half of their earnings on housing.

In a strongly worded statement provided by CLOUT, Councilman Bill Hollander, chair of the 17-member Democratic caucus, said now is the time to put a down payment toward the trust fund.

“With a recovering economy and increasing metro revenue, it is inexcusable and short-sighted to leave behind our most vulnerable residents who need safe and decent places to live,” Hollander, D-9th District, said.

Other community groups joining CLOUT’s demonstration outside Fischer’s office include the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, Coalition for the Homeless, Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky, Louisville Urban League, Louisville Standing Up for Racial Justice, Habitat for Humanity, St. John’s Center for Homeless Men, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

The demonstration is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday.