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Louisville, Kentucky

YouthBuild Louisville

YouthBuild Louisville is an education, career development, and leadership program that provides young people, ages 18-24, opportunities to realize their potential as active community leaders and well-prepared, working members of Louisville.

Established in 2001, YouthBuild Louisville has always served young people experiencing homelessness. However, the demand for housing increased from a few young people per class to about half the cohort. This increasing need inspired YouthBuild Louisville to pursue a Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides them 13 vouchers for low-income young people annually. These vouchers are a tremendous support to the program but could not house all program participants. Additionally, because these vouchers could place participants anywhere in the city, some young people experienced transportation barriers.

To further respond to the need for housing, YouthBuild Louisville obtained approval from the U.S. Department of Labor to make its 2019 worksite a low-income housing project for its participants. The worksite, which is a few blocks away from campus and can house three to six participants, was donated by our local housing authority. The work is funded through the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund and completed by YouthBuild Louisville program participants and skilled partners.

The neighborhood has also played a critical role in the project development. Initially, YouthBuild Louisville had planned a duplex, but community input led to the choice to renovate the property into a single-family home. The property was rezoned to honor the requests of the community.

Starting in Spring 2023, three to six program participants will move in. They will pay their rent with Section 8 vouchers. A resident assistant will live onsite to provide life skills coaching and mentorship to the young people.

“Not having a place to sleep at night is the same as not having a peaceful place in your mind,” said Brendan, a class of 2023 participant. “You can have the brightest mindset, but not having a home or place to feel safe can drag you down. Having stable housing means having a stable life. Getting housing changed everything for me.”

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