LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Melissa Birch and her two children have called Jefferson Green Apartments, an affordable living complex, home for the past year.
“This has been a dream for me,” Birch said.
Before that, a divorce left them homeless.
“Basically, I had to start my life all over again,” Birch said.
With her income, she thought finding an affordable home would be a challenge until her daughter found Jefferson Green.
“I didn’t know if we’d be able to get in here or not due to our financial situation. But when we came into the office, we kept coming and people kept helping us and helping us and I was thinking we’re gonna get in,” Birch said.
A partnership with the property’s developer, IDG development, Norton Healthcare and First Source, the state’s largest eligibility enrollment service provider, are merging affordable housing with on-site health care and support services for families living in Jefferson Green.
“It’s all part of this whole equation of taking care of people, lifting the community up,” said LDG Development co-founder Chris Dischinger.
Norton Healthcare now provides the complex with mobile services focusing on chronic illness prevention, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Families will also have access to women's health services, pediatric care and vaccines.
“For so long in health care, we said come to us,” said Norton Healthcare president and CEO Russell Cox. “What we realized is that we’ve got to come where people are.”
Mayor Greg Fischer is confident that the partnership will eliminate some financial barriers and allow more students to obtain postsecondary education.
“If you’re a single mom living here with a couple of kids and you now say I have housing, I've got health care and my kids got a pathway to college, that’s about as good as it gets and that needs to be the model of the United States of America and we’re doing that right here,” Fischer said.
Those are all things Birch is grateful for.
“Everybody’s come together to make it affordable for people like me to live and anybody. Everybody should be able to have a nice place to live no matter what, no matter your income, no matter what you look like, anything. You should be able to have a nice place to live,” Birch said.
Now she can do something she’s always hoped to do: model.
“It’s hard to pursue your dream or be an entrepreneur if you can’t afford to live and you have to pay bills all of the time, but that’s not how life should be. So it being affordable now I can pursue my dream. Yes, I can pursue my dream," Birch said.