American Planning Association rewards FSH, Marian for efforts to fight homelessness, poverty in Louisville

Lincoln Grant Scholar House in Covington, Kentucky, is an affiliate location for the Family Scholar House. The historic African American school was repurposed to continue to support education and preserve its important history for the community.  

Family Scholar House and Marian Development have been selected for an accolade that the American Planning Association calls its “highest honor” — the National Planning Excellence Award.

The APA named FSH and Marian recipients of the HUD Secretary’s Opportunity & Empowerment Award for this year in recognition of their joint efforts to combat homelessness and poverty in Louisville and Covington, according to a recent press release.

Assisted by Marian, FSH — which was founded in 1995 as Project Women — has established 279 affordable housing units in Louisville and 45 in Covington.

“All projects combined new construction and renovation, with three of the developments in former schools,” the APA’s profile on the winners said. “These vacant historic properties were repurposed, restoring the original educational purpose to these structures, while also providing needed affordable housing, contributing to local preservation efforts, and strengthening the economic and community development. All the projects use operating subsidies such as Project Based Section 8 vouchers or Moving to Work Housing Choice vouchers.”

According to the APA, 99 percent of FSH participants — many of them formerly homeless or from domestic violence shelters — have exited the program to stable housing environments while another 80 percent have secured stable employment.

Its National Awards Program more than 50 years old, the APA this year honors individuals and entities which “represent superb work in comprehensive planning, urban design, transportation planning, resilience, public outreach, economic development planning, environmental planning and more.”

The two-tiered awards are selected through a juried process. Five recipients were selected to receive the National Planning Excellence Awards, the highest honor, while 20 were named Achievement Award winners for their efforts in areas of specialization within the planning profession.

“This year’s award recipients demonstrate how planning helps create communities that offer access and opportunity for all,” said Wendy Shabay, AICP, 2019 Awards jury chair. “Planning is vital to keep communities thriving and to ensure quality of life for residents.”

All award recipients were to be recognized during APA’s National Planning Conference at a special awards luncheon on Monday, April 15 in San Francisco.

Find out more about each of the 2019 award recipients at

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