Members with Black Lives Matter of Louisville, Ky., are putting on their hard hats this holiday season and renovating vacant properties to help local families in need.
Their goal? To provide families with stable homes while addressing the shortage of affordable housing in West Louisville.
“There’s just way too many vacant and abandoned properties in West Louisville alone, that we can house all these people.” BLM-Louisville’s head organizer Chanelle Helm, told local station WLKY.
So far, the social justice group has purchased six vacant homes and plans to renovate, or “flip,” them for low-income and homeless families. Helm said the project is entirely funded by donations from the community. The group has not accepted any grants or federal aid.
The homes, most of which are fixer-uppers, will require a significant amount of work before families like mother-of-three Tiffany Brown can move in. Brown said her eldest son recently moved out of their home because there simply wasn’t enough space.
Brown told WLKY she’s always dreamed of having a house of her own and wouldn’t mind coming out to “help put the walls in, put the floor in” as activists work to construct her family’s new home.
“We’re also not going to be cheap with the products,” Helm noted. “We’re putting in for it, we need to get like quality, sustainable products. We can go green with a lot of stuff.”
The local activist said there’s no formal application process for the program, adding that those with criminal histories area also welcomed to apply.
“Those are exactly the people that we need to get in the homes,” Helm said. “The reason why they committed whatever crime it is, is because of a lack, a lack of something, lack of necessities, a lack of bare essentials, a lack of dignity, especially.”
It’ll still be a few more months until Brown’s home in move-in ready. The mother, who works and also attends school, called her home-in-the-making the “best place possible” for she and her children.
“I am looking forward to having a screen door,” she added. “I don’t have a screen door on my house now and (I want to) open up my screen door and let some fresh air in.”