Human Rights Commission Honors Habitat for Humanity

Apr 13, 2012

In Paducah, the Human Rights Commission paid tribute to fair housing practices in the area by honoring Habitat for Humanity and the Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center with Fair Housing Awards on Thursday.  Casey Northcutt  provides a quick update on the efforts in Paducah to build homes for low-income families.

Homes have sprung up around the area as part of a citywide effort to provide housing to all segments of the population.

Bernice Belt is the interim chair for the Paducah Human Rights Commission. She  says the city recently has made many strides to ensure that all residents have equal access to housing.

Bernice1, 17.5 secs “.We have more housing, we have existing housing that have been refurbished, and now they blend in and instead of looking like low-rent housing, they look like really nice apartments that anybody would want to live in.”

The Human Rights Commission honored Habitat for Humanity for constructing its first-ever solar handicap–accessible home. The Merryman House received its award for an apartment project it recently completed to house center clients. Merryman House Assistant Director Dawn York says she was impressed that many non-profit, business and government leaders showed up to talk about such an important issue.

DawnYork2, 18.5 secs “It’s remarkable to me to be able to come to an event like this and be able to see people from different systems within our city to come together and talk about something so impactful like fair housing. You have the police department and nonprofits, you know, legislators, policy-makers from the whole city coming together and showing what fair housing means to them and how important it is for our citizens of Paducah.”

The city has several housing projects of its own. Before the Human Rights Commission bestowed the day’s honors, Mayor Bill Paxton spoke briefly about the Fountain Avenue neighborhood revitalization project, one of Paducah’s chief housing endeavors. In 2007, the City Commission adopted a plan to refurbish this area, and the city eventually acquired 87 properties as a part of a program to assist low-to-moderate income families. So far, the entire investment in Fountain Avenue totals 6-million-dollars,.

Bernice Belt says these efforts are vital to the well being of those in need.

Bernice3, 22.5 secs “It raises the self-worth of people to know that even though they may not own the property, the people that own it and the people that run it, they care enough about the way it looks and the way it makes people feel and the way it looks in our community, that they work hard at pursuing grants, at partnering and working together to make all those improvements.”

Director of the Paducah Planning Department Steve Irvin says once the city has completed the Fountain Avenue project, the City Commission will meet again. It will discuss whether or not it should revitalize another section of Paducah and what section it should choose.