Louisville’s Landbank Authority is turning abandonment into family neighborhoods

The program revitalizes homes and improves neighborhoods thanks to those who step up.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In a time where housing prices are sky-high, a retried veteran just bought two homes on the same block and got a great deal. 

Jerri Robinson decided to move home to Louisville from Michigan, and her cousin told her about Louisville’s Landbank Authority. It’s a program that saves foreclosed and abandoned homes by offering them below market rates to people who can come up with the money and a plan to fix them up.

“I’m giving you the disclaimers now,” said Jerri, walking us into one of her new homes. “Watch your step and know that it looked way worse than it does now!”

Jerri bought the home she plans to live in and another a few doors down from Louisville’s Landbank Authority. Jerri will keep the duplex for herself and use the other as a rental property.

“I’m gonna stay in the front part and when my family comes, they’ll stay in the back part. You know, my grandkids will be with me and my kids will be in the back,” Jerri said.

RELATED: Landbank Authority sells 90 vacant Louisville properties in 2020

This retired veteran is just one of many success stories. The Landbank Authority has about 600 properties for sale right now, and they sell around 100 every year. 

The program has been around since the 80s, but just saw a major rise in popularity. Lunch and Learn events that used to see a small group of people started getting packed pre-pandemic. 

“You would think the pandemic might have slowed things down but it hasn’t,” said Laura Grabowski, director of Louisville’s Vacant and Public Property Administration. 

“We really like to be able to drive by and say this looked like ten empty houses and several years later it’s an occupied block, kids running on the sidewalk and people enjoying occupying these properties,” she said. 

That’s exactly what’s happening on this block, and it all starts with one person believing in the neighborhood and leading by example.

“It feels good. I’m part of the revitalization of my hometown,” said Robinson. 

You can learn more about the Landbank Authority program on the Louisville Metro website.

Contact reporter Daniel Sechtin at dsechtin@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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