Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-Action
Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-Action (BUILD) is an organization of religious congregations in Lexington-Fayette County, Kentucky. Since its inception in 2003, BUILD has been constituent led and employs the practices of direct action community organizing. BUILD is developing a powerful grassroots organization, made up of congregations situated in low to moderate income communities that are capable of creating system-wide change.
BUILD has made a real difference on a number of community problems:
Drugs and Crime
BUILD won a Restorative Justice Program for youth who are using drugs and alcohol in our Family Court System. Three Family Court Judges, the Police Chief, the school system, the principal of our alternative school, and the Division of Youth Services were at our Nehemiah Action to commit to make this happen in Lexington. Over 100 youth per year go through this program, avoiding jail time.
Healthcare for the Uninsured
Due to the work of BUILD the Fayette County Health Department and other providers have supplied primary care to over 14,000 of Lexington’s over 40,000 uninsured adults. In 2011 alone, nearly $8 million of healthcare was provided to the uninsured in Lexington as a direct result of BUILD’s efforts.
Due to BUILD’s taking action in 2007, the Code Enforcement Division agreed to step up its inspections of trailer parks in Fayette county, some of which had rotting floor, leaking roofs, and open sewage.
BUILD discovered in 2006 that there was no drug treatment program for women in the Fayette County Jail, while the program for men was reducing the recidivism rate from 60% to 19%. BUILD got then-Mayor Teresa Isaac to put $175,000 in the budget for a women’s drug treatment program at the Fayette County Jail. We have followed up each year since then to ensure that the program remains funded and 430 women have been treated to date.
Fayette County Public Schools
Suspension Rates- BUILD worked with Fayette county Schools to reduce drastically high suspension rates At Bryan Station, Crawford, Leestown, Tates Creek, and Winburn middle schools. Due to the work of BUILD Fayette County Schools have changed the way they track suspensions looking to not just reduce the number total suspensions but also reducing the number of students who are suspended from class.
BUILD got LexTran to start an “Employment Bus” which will take citizens to work during the hours the regular bus is not in service – this service began in August 2006.
In 2012, BUILD gained a commitment from Mayor Gray to promote hiring policies that help reduce recidivism by getting people with a criminal history back to work. He agreed to bring together his staff and local employers to meet with a national expert to deepen their understanding of fair, effective hiring practices.
BUILD got the circuit court clerk and head of the detention center to develop a plan to ensure inmates have state issued photo ID’s upon their release.
In 2014, BUILD won top-notch drug court training for judges and attorneys so that everyone eligible has access to this program and the hope of recovery from their addiction.
In 2014, BUILD got Mayor Gray and the Urban County Council to unanimously create an affordable housing fund to build and renovate affordable housing in Lexington, with $2 million of ongoing, annual funding. As of July 2018, 1,358 units of affordable housing have been created.
BUILD has followed up over the years to make sure that all of these commitments are met.
Read more about BUILD in the news.
Presently, 26 congregations with over 15,000 individual members are members of BUILD. We come from all parts of Fayette County, and we represent a diverse mix of persons by race, economic class, and religious traditions.
P.O. Box 21874
Lexington, KY 40522
Mary Kate Norton