Fayette County

Lexington organization gets funding for 24 housing units for domestic violence survivors

Lexington will soon have 24 new housing units for survivors of domestic violence.

Greenhouse17, which serves 17 Central Kentucky counties, announced this week that it has secured funding to build 12 single-story cottage-style duplexes on Greenhouse 17's 40-acre campus in rural Fayette County.

In addition, 12 apartments will be updated and converted in existing buildings on Mackenzie Lane and Cambridge Drive in Lexington.

Greenhouse17 provides housing, a 24-hour hotline, legal advocacy, counseling, medical treatment and other services to victims of domestic violence.

Greenhouse17 currently has an emergency shelter for women and children in crisis but has struggled to find transitional or supportive housing for women who are trying to leave a shelter and work toward independence, said Darlene Thomas, executive director of Greenhouse17.

"This will be the next step," Thomas said. "It allows us the ability to maintain contact and give them much-needed support services that they may need to gain independence."

Those who are placed in the new housing units must have incomes below 60 percent of the area median income. They will receive case management and will be able to participate in financial education, credit counseling micro loans and other financial services.

Residents can stay for two years in the transitional housing program, Thomas said.

The apartments in Lexington and the cottages on the Greenhouse campus will hopefully be completed sometime late in 2016, Thomas said.

Greenhouse has been working for several years to secure funding for its transitional housing program. The Greenhouse housing project was announced at a ceremony at Greenhouse as part of a celebration of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. First Lady Jane Beshear, who attended the ceremony on Tuesday, applauded the Greenhouse project. Thomas said Beshear has been a longtime advocate of the state's domestic violence programs and helped the group secure funding for the new housing.

"During my time as first lady, I have visited many domestic violence survivors across Kentucky and have recognized firsthand the critical role our state programs and local shelters play in victims' lives," Beshear said. "The (new housing) units provide much-needed assistance to families suffering from domestic abuse and give them the leg-up they need to eventually stand on their own."

The $4.6 million project with the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence — a statewide coalition — and Housing Partnership Inc. is being paid for through an assortment of grants and tax credits. Some of those funding sources include: $338,000 in low-income housing tax credits and $226,000 from the Kentucky Housing Corporation's affordable housing trust fund; $499,000 in federal HOME funds and a $560,000 loan from the city's affordable housing fund; and a $3.3 million low-interest construction loan from HOPE of Kentucky.