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Kentucky Housing Corp. Contributes $300,000
to UK for Research
on Affordable Housing Design

By George Lewis

Photo of UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. and Kentucky Housing Corp. CEO Lynn Luellan
UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. (left) and Kentucky Housing Corp. CEO Lynn Luellan confer after a news conference announcing the housing corporation's $300,000 contribution for research into affordable-housing design.

Photo by George Lewis

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"The Affordable Housing Design Research Fund will generate ideas and models for creating cost- and energy-efficient, high-quality and affordable residential building techniques and technologies."

-- David Mohney,
dean,
UK College of Architecture

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Lexington, Ky. (Dec. 11, 2002) -- University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. and Kentucky Housing Corp. Chief Executive Officer Lynn Luallen announced today that the housing corporation will contribute $300,000 to the UK College of Architecture to establish the Affordable Housing Design Research Fund, which will help meet Kentucky's affordable-housing challenge through research and experimentation. The contribution is eligible to be matched by the Research Challenge Trust Fund.

One of the expected outcomes to this initiative is to offer housing providers a greater range of options in building, designing and developing affordable housing. These housing providers are often funded by grants from the Kentucky Housing Corp. This initiative will provide an avenue by which UK, the housing corporation and the state's affordable-housing developers can work together on design concepts to better address Kentucky's critical housing and land-use needs.

"The Affordable Housing Design Research Fund will generate ideas and models for creating cost- and energy-efficient, high-quality and affordable residential building techniques and technologies," said David Mohney, dean of UK College of Architecture.

President Todd said the project "will have a special emphasis on Eastern Kentucky using UK research and scholarly expertise to improve the lives of Kentuckians."

"The bonus is that Bucks for Brains money will be applied to something as tangible as improving the quality of living for low- and moderate-income homeowners," Todd said.

"This is the type of investment that can have a profound impact on Kentucky families - now and in the future," Luallen said. "Quality, affordable housing strengthens families financially and emotionally, thereby strengthening our communities. This is a quality-of-life investment, and we are thrilled to partner with UK on this important initiative."

In the first phase of the project, a College of Architecture design and research team of faculty and students is developing housing prototypes for a site in Morehead in conjunction with Frontier Housing Inc., a non-profit housing organization that has helped Rowan County's low- and moderate-income families for more than 25 years.

One member of the UK team, visiting professor Maryilis Nepomechie of Florida International University, is renowned for her work on affordable housing in Miami's Little Haiti, a neighborhood that is in the midst of a socioeconomic renaissance.

According to the 1990 U.S. Census, Kentucky needs better affordable-housing design. These statistics, related to the "unaffordability" of housing, are from the Kentucky Housing Needs Assessment, released by the Kentucky Housing Commission in October 2001:

-- Approximately two-thirds of low-income renter households faced high cost. burdens and two-fifths faced extreme cost burdens.

-- Approximately 55 percent of elderly low-income renter households faced high cost burdens and about 25 percent faced extreme cost burdens.

-- Some regions of Kentucky had between 10 percent and 17 percent of their low-income owner households facing high cost burdens.
High cost burden means people are paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs; extreme cost burden means they spend more than 50 percent.


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