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Thousands of Kentuckians have gathered over the last two weeks – in Frankfort, Lexington, Louisville, and small communities throughout the state. In solidarity with people around the nation, they – and we – are crying out for change. We want you to know that we hear you, we understand you, and we stand with you.

At Kentucky Housing Corporation, we believe that access to safe, affordable housing is a basic human right. We are committed to eradicating discrimination and discriminatory practices in housing as well as to ensuring racial equity. It was the reason we were founded. For years, Black Kentuckians were deprived of affordable housing. There were few options, and they were all deplorable.

MSKidd at Gov Housing Conf1-90s_BW.jpgRep. Mae Street Kidd, the founder of our organization, a Black woman, and a champion of affordable housing, pushed for change, urging her fellow legislators to extend all Kentuckians basic human rights. As a result, she sponsored bills that prohibited racial discrimination in housing and that provided first-time homebuyers low-interest loans.

She gave a voice to the underrepresented, oppressed people she served, and today, we continue her fight. We support our Black employees, partners, customers, community members and friends. We abhor the hate and discrimination permeating our national dialogue and the persistent profiling and injustice that led to the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and so many others.

Breonna was a young woman with dreams. According to her mother, she planned to become a nurse and start a family. Her family said she was saving to buy a house, and that hits us especially hard. We know Breonna was facing an uphill battle. Many in the Black community believe homeownership is an impossible dream. Stuck in a suffocating cycle, many minorities continue to suffer from lack of opportunity, poor wages, and countless other financial struggles.

Systemic racism is present throughout the housing system. Black individuals and families are over-represented among people who are cost-burdened, which means paying too much for housing. This puts African-Americans at greater risk of losing their homes. It should come as no surprise that African-Americans experience homelessness at a much higher rate than white Americans. We must do better.

In recent years, we began the Empowering New Buyers program to shepherd new homebuyers from underrepresented communities through the homebuying process. Last year, we set a record in terms of loans awarded to minorities, yet they still account for less than 30 percent of KHC's new home loans. We must do more.

As Governor Andy Beshear said, "We are laying bare the problems in our society, and we need to recognize them. We also have to do something about them." COVID-19 and its economic impacts disproportionately affect people of color. We are actively working to provide significant emergency housing assistance so that people who have lost income due to COVID-19 can pay their landlords or lending institutions and avoid costly evictions and foreclosures that do not benefit anyone.

At Kentucky Housing Corporation, you will always be welcome. We pledge to do better. We strive to fight discriminatory housing practices, to end racial injustice in housing, to ensure equity and to be more inclusive in everything we do.

Posted June 15, 2020

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