Metro leaders address public safety, homelessness and affordable housing, and more

LOUISVILLE, KY (October 26, 2021) – Mayor Greg Fischer today was joined by Metro Councilmembers to outline an ordinance proposing to spend $262.9 million of federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding on critical initiatives to address public safety challenges and homelessness, build more affordable housing for the community, continue to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, and recognize the efforts of public employees.

“It is critical that we use these federal funds to address some of our most pressing needs,” said Mayor Fischer. “Working with Metro Council, we have identified multiple initiatives to make our city safer through our whole-of-government approach, as well as provide more temporary shelter, permanent supportive housing and affordable housing for our most vulnerable residents. In addition, we propose to use funding for Public Health to continue to address needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a minimal amount of funding to be used for administration of funds, as well as premium pay to public employees of Metro Government and other related government entities, who served with great distinction during unprecedented times.”

Louisville Metro Government (LMG) has been allocated $388 million in ARP Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, approved by Congress to meet the most urgent needs of communities across the country as they rebuild from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The ordinance introduced today outlines the second round of ARP spending proposed by Mayor Fischer and Metro Council. The first round went to COVID-related emergency needs, including $45.2 million for Public Health and eviction prevention, and was approved by Metro Council in June. Metro Council and Mayor Fischer developed priority areas for ARP spending: Public Safety; Public Health; Homelessness and Affordable Housing; Workforce Development; and Healthy Louisville/Healthy Neighborhoods. Louisville Metro Government/Metro Council workgroups developed the proposals in the ordinance submitted today.

“The ordinance filed today is the next step in taking advantage of this remarkable opportunity to meet Louisville’s needs,” said Metro Council Budget Committee Chairman Bill Hollander. “Over the summer, Metro Council listened to residents at public forums and through an on-line form. After passing a resolution with priority areas in August, Council members have worked with the administration on various options. Everything proposed today has been discussed in a relevant work group, each of which included multiple members, of both parties. We’ll now move forward with this proposal in the Budget Committee and then the Council and hope to put these federal funds to work soon. In the meantime, discussions will continue about programs in other priority areas.”

Proposed Public Safety Funding: $78 million

“Public safety is my number one priority, and this funding builds on the whole-of-government work we are already doing to reduce violence and increase safety in every neighborhood,” the Mayor said.

  • Public Safety Reforms: $35 million is proposed to address public safety reforms recommended by the Hillard Heintze report and improvements learned from the Department of Justice. These measures are focused on accountability, community engagement and training, with the goal of constitutional and effective policing.

  • Violence Deterrence and Prevention: $15.8 million will be used to expand current Violence Deterrence and Prevention programs that have proven outcomes and a long-lasting impact. This includes increased funding for the Trauma Resilient Communities initiative within the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods (OSHN); increased collaboration on the Group Violence Intervention initiative; and expansion of other programs.

  • Office of Youth Development/Youth Activities: This Office, currently under the Office of Resilience and Community Services, will move to OSHN and be funded with $15 million to provide meaningful, evidence-based youth programs and increased coordination between OSHN and existing partners delivering youth programming in the community.

  • Youth Transfer Processing Center: $3 million in funding will create a Youth Transfer Processing Center to do modifications at the state facility for a transfer area, and includes hiring five Court Sworn Officers to accept youth detainees from police officers.

  • Everytown USA Data Fellow: $117,000 will be provided to match a grant provided by Everytown for Gun Safety for a fellow who will provide in-depth gun crime analysis.

  • Police Deflection: $2.9 million will be provided to expand to an additional Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) division the pilot program announced earlier this month to deflect a number of 911 calls to a non-police response.

  • Family Recovery Court (Seven Counties): The ordinance would provide funding to continue the Family Recovery Court for an additional year. This initiative is a collaborative, client-centered approach that strives to promote coordination of care, accountability, and healthy outcomes for parents who are involved with the child welfare system and have a history of substance use.

  • LMPD Technology: $6 million will be provided to LMPD for new Equipment and increased storage capacity.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to have federal dollars to invest in our community for the safety of our citizens, which is the number one responsibility of government," said Metro Council President David James. “The proposal includes funding from police reforms to improved and enhanced technology and community-based data driven programs to make Louisville a better place.”

Proposed Homelessness & Affordable Housing: $100 million

“We recommend using a good amount of the ARP funding to significantly reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness,” said Mayor Fischer. “That includes permanent supportive housing and other forms of affordable housing, particularly directed at Louisville’s lowest-income residents and those suffering from mental health and substance use disorder, who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

  • Outdoor Safe Space: $1.5 million would go to 50 tents, equipment, portable facilities and supportive services at a new outdoor safe space at 212 East College Street.

  • College Street Property: $7.5 million will be utilized to make necessary improvements to start conversion of the building to affordable housing units. During the renovation of the first floor, access to electric and water can supplement services to the Outdoor Safe Space.

  • Permanent Supportive Housing: This $32 million would go to client-centered housing with wrap-around services.

  • Affordable Housing: $40 million would be invested in affordable housing units through the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund under this proposal.

  • Down Payment Assistance: With this proposal of $4 million in spending, LMG would increase down payment assistance to help approximately 150 new homeowners.

  • Home Repair: This initiative would increase funding in an existing successful program that helps people stay in their homes. The $4 million would aid approximately 150 homeowners.

  • HOME ARP Funds: An additional $11 million in HOME ARP funds will be allocated for homelessness or housing programs after a federally required community engagement process and HUD approval.


Premium Pay:

“Many of your city government employees have risen to the occasion of serving our city with great distinction during the depths of the pandemic,” said the Mayor, adding that in keeping with U.S. Treasury guidelines, “we’re recommending that some of the ARP funding goes to provide premium pay to city government workers needed to maintain critical operations, including in public health, safety and sanitation, during the COVID-19 health emergency.”

Premium pay for Metro Employees: $21 million would be provided to certain public employees. Specifically:

  • $5,000 will go to essential public safety qualified employees

  • $1,500 will go to other essential employees, and

  • $500 will go to all other employees.

Employees who receive the maximum payment of $500 will receive that amount after showing proof of full COVID vaccination or authorized waiver. All other recipients will receive one-half of their payment immediately and the other half on June 1, 2022, after showing proof of full vaccination or authorized waiver.

Premium pay to the following related entities: Up to $7.3 million would also go to some non-Metro employees, including Suburban Fire, assuming LMG can arrive at a cost-sharing formula with respective local governments. Payment would be contingent upon acceptable cost sharing with other localities, as well as similar vaccination requirements set for Metro employees.

“The FOP supports the administration’s initiative to reward the hard work of front line, essential workers for their dedication to the community with a premium pay incentive,” said River City FOP Lodge 614 President Ryan Nichols.

Other

  • Public Health Contingency: $27.6 million has been included in contingency funding, focusing on COVID essentials.

  • Administrative Support: $20 million has been included to cover administrative support for the spending. This is approximately 5% over the life of the grant, and significantly lower than the LMG HHS/HUD approved indirect cost rate of 14.9%. ARP allows for up to 10% for subrecipients but does not set a specific rate for administrative cost.

  • Contingency Reserve: $20 million is recommended to be restricted for unforeseen events over the life of the grant.

Metro Government/Jefferson County Public Schools Collaboration

Louisville Metro Government and Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) work in partnership to address children’s needs inside and outside of school. That partnership is furthered by this ordinance, which addresses two areas of challenge to JCPS children and families: support for at-risk children and housing.

“Keeping our children safe and on a path to success is the goal of our ongoing partnership to collaborate and align our work with that of JCPS,” Mayor Fischer said. “The funding for the Office of Youth Development will help better coordinate our efforts to keep at-risk students from going down a path of violence and enhance our collaboration and communication. In addition, far too many students in JCPS and their families are housing insecure; this ordinance works to address that challenge with proposed funding for both short- and long-term housing solutions.”

“Addressing the needs of our students extends beyond our schools and requires full community collaboration,” said JCPS superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio. “One of the most important factors around a student’s success is ensuring they have stable housing. Last year, thousands of students experienced housing instability in JCPS.”

Next Steps

This ordinance will be heard and considered by the Metro Council Budget Committee on Nov. 4, 2021. Assuming the ordinance passes out of committee, it could be voted on by the full Council on Nov. 11, 2021. Early next year, after continued coordination and discussion with Metro Council and community partners, Mayor Fischer and Metro leaders will propose an ordinance for additional ARP funding to address workforce development and healthy neighborhoods, mindful that if this ordinance is passed as is, $80 million remains to be invested. In addition, Metro Government continues to monitor developments with the proposed federal Build Back Better and infrastructure legislation, to identify potential related opportunities to improve the lives of Louisvillians.

“I am deeply appreciative of the partnership with Metro Council to use this transformational funding to tackle some of our community’s most pressing challenges,” Mayor Fischer said. “This funding, working to address our public safety challenges and to shelter our most vulnerable, will truly change lives.”


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