Tremendous need for affordable housing in Kentucky, advocates say
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - There’s a tremendous need for housing in Kentucky.
Advocates for housing improvements say the situation was already bad before tornadoes in western Kentucky and flooding in eastern Kentucky made the already bad situation a lot worse.
Advocates met with lawmakers in Frankfort Tuesday. They say there is a shortage of 78,000 affordable rental units in Kentucky.
“I went through the house and found all my furniture turned upside down,” said Terry Thies, flood survivor from Perry County.
Thies is among those whose lives were also turned upside down after the July 2022 flood. Her home was so badly damaged she said she had to take out a mortgage on a new home, the first time she’s ever had to do that in her life.
Housing advocates say so many others have it worse off. Many are still living in travel trailers and don’t know when they will find permanent housing again. They say an emergency allocation trust fund of $300 million would go a long way.
“Screams to me, I can’t think of a policy that is more important than investing in affordable housing for eastern Kentucky,” said Eric Dixon, Ohio River Valley Institute.
Dixon says, according to FEMA data, four in 10 homes that reported damage have a household income of about $30,000. The same amount it will take to repair a home inundated with an inch of flood water on the first floor.
The Ohio River Valley Institute says, according to the Economic Policy Institute, it costs about $58,000 for a family of three in Letcher County, KY to “attain a modest yet adequate standard of living.
“I hope the legislature can come to their aid. I know there’s a lot of other disasters and things. It still needs attention,” said Thies.
The Ohio River Valley Institute says there were 9,000 homes damaged, across 13 counties, in the flooding.
“95 percent of the people who had their homes damaged by the flood did not have flood insurance,” Dixon said.
Another group, A Heart for Housing, is also pushing legislation to make it easier for homeless people to get identification and for legislation to dismiss evictions.
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