Affordable housing tops central Kentucky KFTC's holiday wish List

This year, affordable housing was at the top of the Central Kentucky KFTC chapter’s holiday wish list. Central Kentucky KFTC members asked Santa Claus to deliver an important message to Lexington Mayor Jim Gray: It is time to prioritize an affordable housing trust fund for Lexington.
On Friday morning, Dec. 20
th, Santa delivered a stack of Christmas cards to the mayor’s office urging the mayor to take action on the trust fund in 2014.

The cards were created by Central Kentucky KFTC members, as well as members from the BUILD (Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct Action) organization who has been working toward the trust fund for the past five years.Upon delivering the cards, Santa said,  “I believe people shouldn’t have to pay money just to have a good place to live, and they certainly shouldn’t pay more than they can afford. Mayor Gray should take urgent action on making affordable housing a reality for all the residents of Lexington.”

There are nearly 28,000 families in Fayette County who cannot afford their rent – this means that 1 in 5 families have to routinely make difficult choices between housing, childcare, medicine, food, utilities and other necessities. Right now, the average two bedroom rental unit costs $700 a month, meaning a minimum wage worker has to work 74 hours a week to afford his or her rent. A trust fund would mean that hundreds of affordable housing units would be constructed or rehabilitated for these families.

The Affordable Housing Trust Fund is a pool of money from a dedicated funding source that creates quality, affordable housing in Lexington, for people who spend more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities.  The trust fund would amount to approximately $2 million every year. These funds would come from a dedicated 0.5% increase on insurance premium taxes in Fayette County, which, on average, would cost each household $15 per year.

Christmas Cards to Mayor GrayBeyond creating over 230 affordable housing units each year, the trust fund would generate an estimated $21 million in economic activity, which includes 181 new jobs in Fayette County. It will also bring stability to families. Children would not be moving from school to school while parents seek a place they can better afford. Affordable housing can also prevent homelessness. The AHTF will make Lexington a fairer place to live, a place where families can thrive, as well as make the city more prosperous.

“Kentuckians for the Commonwealth is concerned deeply for all people. We want everyone to have access to affordable housing so they have one of the basics of life: shelter. One cannot focus on higher achievement until their basic needs are met. Let’s all take care of our fellow human beings and thus we will begin to be a better human being ourselves,” KFTC member Susan Williams said.CKY Holiday Party Group

The Central Kentucky chapter hand-made the cards for Mayor Gray at their annual holiday party on Thursday, Dec. 21st.  Chapter members also shared food, celebrated their accomplishments from 2013, played some holiday games, and planned for the year ahead, including continuing the push for affordable housing. “I want to see that everyone has a warm and safe place to stay this winter. People need affordable housing. The ability to do this is present. What’s needed is the political will to do so. I hope our mayor and council members receive that political will for Christmas and want to make an outstanding year for our citizens in that they get their basic needs fulfilled,” Janet Tucker said.

Join the Central Kentucky chapter at their next chapter meeting on Thursday evening, January 16, 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Episcopal Mission House located on the corner of MLK Blvd and 4th Street (across from the Living Arts and Science Center).

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