LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Kentucky Housing Corporation hosted the annual affordable housing conference this week in Lexington.

What You Need To Know

  • Kentucky Housing Corporation annually hosts the Affordable Housing Conference 

  • This year's theme reflects the efforts to re-house those affected by disasters in eastern and western Kentucky 

  • Inflation abd rising construction costs are making projects more costly and taking more time 

This year’s theme reflects the efforts to re-house those affected by disasters in eastern and western Kentucky, as well the aftermath of COVID-19.

Developers, vendors and lenders across Kentucky gathered at the Central Bank Center collaborating to address root issues of the lack of affordable housing.

“Projects maybe in the past would’ve taken a couple years to get built now, maybe taking three or four,” said Billie Wade, executive director of Hope of the Midwest.

Hope of the Midwest is a lending consortium in Louisville and helps finance affordable housing construction projects. Wade says inflation, rising construction costs and higher interest rates are affecting the developer of affordable housing he helps loan money to.

“Now they’re having to go back and try to seep some soft funding sources from cities, a housing corporation wherever there’s a resource to help get that project over the hump,” Wade said.

Another cost affecting developers is the rising cost of water.

“Water is growing three times the rate of inflation, so now it’s no longer this smaller expense you can ignore,” said Jack Howell, founder of EyeOnWater.

Howell developed EyeOnEWater, an app that allows consumers to track water usage and alert them to leaks.

“Our first property was in 2014 in Louisville. It was 42 units. We took the water bill from $10,000 a month to $1,600 a month,” Howell said.

Howell says this saves developers money by knowing a cause to their high bill.

“Developers, 99 times out 100 are paying for the water for the tenants and water leaks. Forever, they believed that any variability in water was due to tenant behavior and it’s not, it’s fixtures leaking,” Howell said.

And Wade says there’s a historic misconception that “affordable housing” means Section 8 housing.

“The NIMBYism; not in my backyard from neighborhoods that don’t want that, not realizing that this really is workforce housing that we’re talking about. It’s people that have a living wage,” Wade said.

Both men say the conference is a great opportunity to collaborate.