Louisville Magazine

JUL 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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kentuckytotheworld.co LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 7.18 103 Day's downpour actually feeling nice, "cool- ing" on her scorched skin. She will earn about $300 for the weekend's work. By the end of May, though, Dixon will separate from her husband. Problems in their marriage hardened after the eviction. Fights became habitual, and she needed a break. Shelters will be full. Her mom's place too cramped. She doesn't have a deep roster of relatives and friends. So she and the boys will pack clothes, shoes and gaming consoles into garbage bags and laundry baskets. It's Memorial Day weekend. With few options, she will start looking into motels and pay-by- the-week hotels. Judges Williams and McLaughlin know the rhythm of eviction court. ey know to start late if it's a snow day or traffic is bad, like the day of Muhammad Ali's pro- cession and funeral. It's a small gesture that helps avoid default judgments against tenants running late. ey know which landlords play dirty. ey pick up on trends. One day, when a cabbie stands before her, McLaughlin pauses, tilts her head. "I've seen a lot of taxi drivers in here lately. It's rough out there," she says, alluding to the popularity of Uber and Lyft. (McLaughlin can roll a bit unfiltered at times, once telling a mother of five kids, whose boyfriend was living at her Section 8 home even though he wasn't on the lease, "If you have five kids you need a husband who has a job." e property manager evicting the woman clapped from the pews.) Could the court be improved? Sure, Williams says. More legal assistance for poor tenants, like what occurs in bigger cities, sounds beneficial. But, she wonders: Where would the money come from? Not surpris- ingly, some lawyers grimace at the idea of bogging down the system with drawn-out landlord-tenant hearings. Maybe Louisville should look for ways to improve emergency assistance, but, Williams says, "We're doing the best with the resources we have in Louis- ville." Over the phone on a recent afternoon, Williams reflects on her time in eviction court. She says she's "a bit sad." Come June, her time in that court ends. New judges will rotate in. Williams will hop over to criminal court. (Another change: After 30-plus years of holding eviction court in the morning, court is now midday.) Williams says she'll miss her old post. "I feel like in eviction court, it's a sad court, but what I appreciated about it was my ability to help people. I'm not trying to screw over anybody. I feel like when I was able to get two sides to talk, a lot of times it does work. I love that dismissed stamp." On a stormy May afternoon, sitting at a long conference table, Gabe Fritz, direc- tor of the Office of Housing and Community Development, says that when the Eviction Lab data was released, the issue leapt "on our radar." Fritz, who has a gentle, thoughtful voice, proposes zooming out, looking at what the city's doing to help poor renters from a wide angle. He points to commitments the city has made to affordable housing, like more than $12 million allocated to the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, as well as $10 million budgeted for this coming fiscal year. (e LAHTF lacks a dedicated source of revenue and is trying to secure one.) Nearly $17 million has been given to other affordable-housing organizations in the last three years. A housing-needs assessment being conducted this summer will gauge how high rents have climbed and pinpoint neighborhoods in need of quality low-income

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