LOUISVILLE, Ky. – As nearly 10,000 children in Kentucky require out-of-home care like foster care, one retired educator in Louisville is concerned over those that age out of care. Blair Butler is working to build a home, Lovie’s House, for the young men who age out of care but have no other place to go. He’s hoping to break ground on his plan at the corner of 32nd and Greenwood this year.
Butler, who worked as a teacher and then an assistant principal in Jefferson County, has a draft of his plan and has considered what to offer men ages 18-25 to the very last detail. He’s thought of employment for them, which brought him to the first step in the process of making Lovie’s House’; he’s selling his childhood home to help fund a Little Caesars restaurant. That’s a place of work for them.
He grew up in the house on Dumesnil Street, so it’s a bittersweet move. “It means a lot to me…a lot,” he reflects.
“It will also be a way for young men to work and earn money while they’re there working on their college degree or their trade certificate,” Butler adds.
Nearby, in the Parkland neighborhood at 32nd and Greenwood, the property where he’s proposing to tear down existing buildings and start new also has family signifcance. His father worked the gas station and convenient store and car wash there for years, he says.
“For those who get much, much is required. So, I feel like this is my much that is required,” explains Butler.
He believes that not only will it set the boys on a successful path, but Lovie’s House could work to begin a cleanse of the area that’s been plagued with violence and homicides. However, the priority will be to care for the age group Butler believes is often forgotten after foster care.
“Usually, if their experience in their foster home hasn’t been a great one, they tend to just throw themselves in the street…and we all know what happens to young people who throw themselves in the street,” Butler says.
So far, Butler says he has collected about $360,000 in donations from various nonprofit groups toward Lovie’s House. He estimates the total cost to make his vision happen will be about $4 million. He’s working to secure more funding in grants, and also consulting social workers on a plan for staff and how to create the process of accepting applicants to live at the future house.