LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Minnie Wilson has lived in Louisville’s Russell neighborhood for 32 years.
She retired from a job in health care a few years ago and is now on a fixed income.
Sometimes, she has trouble getting in and out of her bathtub.
“I have tennis elbow, so getting up and down out of the fiberglass, typical fiberglass bathtub, they literally are on floor level and it’s a challenge,” she told Spectrum News 1. “It’s a challenge somedays. It’s according to how my elbow feels.”
Wilson has applied to a new home repair program from Russell: A Place of Promise, which aims to help people in Russell stay in their homes as they age.
It includes funding for 30 Russell homeowners 55 and older or who have a disability limiting mobility or income.
“My wish list is a tub to shower install or upgrade with safety pulls or safety handles,” said Wilson.
Select homeowners will receive repairs of up to about $6,000 in value, said Theresa Zawacki, the organization’s co-lead.
The home repair program is a partnership with New Directions Housing Corporation and Legal Aid Society, and funding comes from The Humana Foundation and the Fifth Third Foundation, according to Zawacki.
“Russell has so many amazing qualities and amazing character and architecture and people and history and so this is really an augmentation of the assets that are already here today, and it’s also really explicitly about building ownership for Black residents of the neighborhood and building Black wealth to address the racial wealth gap,” she said.
According to Zawacki, about 18 percent of the people who live in Russell own their home.
The hope is the program will help ensure they can age in place and leave their homes for future generations to own.
“Your bathing, that’s part of everyday routine and to be able to do that unimpeded as I get older would be great,” said Wilson. “It keeps your independence.”
The application period is closed and they expect repairs to happen before the end of the year.
The program also includes help with preparing wills and powers of attorney and a storytelling project to celebrate homeowners’ contributions to the neighborhood.