Affordable Housing Proposal in Lexington Still Under Debate

Sep 25, 2012

Talk continues at city hall over a proposed affordable housing trust fund for Lexington.  The idea, which has been under study for years, would finance homes for low-income residents.  Proponents say the city could raise two-million dollars each year for the fund with a half-percent tax on insurance premiums.  Council member Chris Ford says the time to act is now.  “Nobody can refute the need.  We can leave these chambers right now and drive throughout our districts and recognize the need.   The question is will we respond and react to the need,” said Ford.

Dave Christenson with the central Kentucky Housing and Homelessness Initiative says Lexington’s need for affordable housing stands at about ten thousand units.

“The real concern for me is this 18 percent of households in our community renter households that are spending more than 50 percent of their gross paychecks for housing. That’s really an accident ready to happen,” says Christenson.

Council member Chris Ford urged immediate action on the affordable housing trust fund.  He says the average cost per household would be a 15-dollar per year increase in insurance premiums.  But, council member Peggy Henson is not ready to back the plan.

“I just feel real uncomfortable putting more taxpayer dollars out there with so many unanswered questions that continue to come up,” added Henson.

Budget Committee Chair Chuck Ellinger would like to see the issue resolved by the end of the year, at least at the committee level.