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Lawmakers propose legislation to address affordable housing in Kentucky

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Posted at 5:32 PM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 18:57:08-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — After record-breaking investments from Ford, Toyota, and others over the past several months, Governor Andy Beshear has described the state's economy as "on fire."

Two Kentucky lawmakers are proposing new legislation they say would lead to more affordable housing for those new workers and ones already in the commonwealth.

"And without housing, record-breaking investments mean nothing," said State Rep. Randy Bridges (R).

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, "affordable” means the occupant pays no more than 30-percent of gross income for housing costs.

Rep. Bridges says the ratio in Kentucky doesn't come close to that.

"And now we've got 21% of the people that's (paying) above 50% (of income,)" said Bridges.

According to the Commonwealth Alliance for Housing Solutions, before the pandemic, the state was as many as 75,000 affordable homes short.

That's why Bridges and fellow Republican state Representative Kim Banta will pre-file workforce housing tax credit legislation.

Banta says there are too many veterans, police officers, single parents, and young professionals with few residential options.

"It's very sobering to these kids who have a college degree and they've got so much promise, and they have to live with mom and dad the first year they get out of college," said Banta.

Under this proposal, a developer of new rental housing could receive a tax credit worth $12.5 million per year for five years.

"It goes to developers to offset their cost so that they can offer a lower rental rate," said Bridges.

"It pays for itself in the long run because not only does it bring back money to the state, and it brings back money to the local economies, and the local community," said Tiffany Marthaler with CAHS.

Marthaler continued, "It's not a rural issue. It's not an urban issue. It's really a people issue and it's in every community right now."

Bridges says the legislation will be pre-filed this week.