Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer promotes program designed to resto - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer promotes program designed to restore houses and lives

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Vacant homes and hopeless lives.

They are a toxic combination in some Louisville neighborhoods.

On Tuesday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer recognized a program designed to fix both.

Right now, it looks like a mess, but in Portland, a troubled home, and some troubled lives, are getting a second chance.

A crew of men is hard at work renovating an abandoned house, so the new owner can sell or rent it.

It's rehab as well for the workers. They are all ex-felons, part of the "Jesus and a Job" program founded by Rev. Charles Elliott, pastor of King Solomon Baptist Church.

It's designed to recover neighborhoods - and recover men - by giving them jobs.

“We need them to be able to go back and help raise their children. The schools are having problems, because there is no real good man in the house. So if you can give them a job and give them some Christ it will solve a lot of problems,” he said.

The ministry's success was enough to attract Mayor Greg Fischer, who says grassroots efforts like this are part of the solution to Louisville's rising homicide rate.

“It takes somebody that might have been hopeless, they couldn't get a job. Now they're making money, they're putting houses back on the tax roll. Families live in here, communities come back to life, so you just got to start with that one person and one house,” said Fischer.

Aaron Elliott says the program saved his life. He's Rev. Elliott's nephew, and spent time in prison on drug charges.

“They keep us so busy. I mean, sometimes we're doing seven days a week. But I can take that. It's better than being out on the streets getting in some trouble.  And the money is alright,” said Elliott with a chuckle.

"Jesus and a Job" has renovated three homes, so far, including the boyhood home of Muhammad Ali.

Elliott says his vision fits in with Gov. Steve Beshear's recent move to restore voting rights to some felons.

“We want them to become independent. I'm just so grateful that the governor has restored back their voting rights. But they need job rights,” said Elliott.

The program is looking to expand, and Elliott has set up a post office box to receive donations, which are tax exempt.

The address is:

King Solomon Jesus and a Job
PO Box 1161
Louisville, KY 40201

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