Where We Serve

We build and repair homes for the people of East Kentucky.

Since our story began, we have been committed to serving the people of eastern Kentucky. Historically, this area is referred to as “the coalfields,” and more recently, Appalachian Kentucky. Located in the heart of Central Appalachia, which is one of the poorest regions in America, we primarily serve low-income families in Breathitt, Knott, Leslie, and Perry counties.
Poverty rates in these counties are some of the highest in the nation. Breathitt County is #29 on the country’s list of poorest counties, while Knott is #47, Leslie is #39, and Perry comes in at #102. All four counties are designated as “distressed” by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

Regional Snapshot

Generational poverty has long been the chief obstacle for families in our region to overcome. Still today, 15% of the people in the four counties we serve live on $10,000 a year or less, and 42% live on $25,000 a year or less. Based on census data, nearly 40% of families in our service area remain inadequately housed. That includes people living in substandard housing, people residing in overcrowded housing, and people whose rent or house payment isn’t affordable. This means that over 28,000 people, including nearly 7,000 children, don’t have a safe, sufficient, and affordable home.

Why Affordable Housing?

The poverty rates and median incomes our communities are experiencing have devastated the local housing market. Lower incomes produce a lower rental rate, which in turn, is too low to support quality rental housing. However, even these deflated rates are still too high for eastern Kentucky families to afford. The low rental rates warrant low appraisal rates of rental properties, which makes it extremely difficult to develop new rental units in our area and suppresses buyers who can’t afford to purchase the property without subsidy. 

Homeownership is fighting a similar battle. The biggest impact of the broken housing market for homeownership is the appraisal gap. A new, modest home costs more to build than what it appraises for in our area. For the houses HDA typically builds this gap ranges from $10,000 to $35,000. In other words, it costs $10,000-$35,000 more to build a home than the market will bear. 

1 in 4 houses in our area are being valued at less than $50,000. The majority of these homes were built before 1989, so the housing stock in our four counties is aging and of lower quality. This fact limits lending opportunities for major maintenance and repairs for the region’s current homeowners. In addition, lower incomes make it financially impossible for many families to purchase a new home.

This is a vicious cycle where no one wins.

That’s why we’re committed to bringing affordable housing to the people of Appalachian East Kentucky. We believe affordable housing is perhaps the most significant way to build generational wealth and move people out of poverty. A good, quality home a family can afford helps them build financial stability, making the individual or family stronger while also strengthening our community. The homes we build are energy efficient and are built to last. By giving low-income and middle-income families – the workforce of East Kentucky – a chance to become homeowners, we are laying a new foundation for the future of our community.

Affordable housing changes lives, empowers families, and makes our mountain communities stronger, more adaptable, and poised to flourish in a new economy.

Need Housing Help But Don't Live in Our Service Area?

Similar housing services are offered by other agencies in our state and region. You can find a list of our sister organizations at the link below.
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