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.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/999164

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Page 106 of 112

LIVEINLOU.COM 104 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 7.18 housing. Fritz also reports that the city may help expand a rental-readiness program that the Louisville Urban League offers. Some cities, particularly in New York and California, have aggressively chased ways to protect renters, adopting rent-control laws or legislation that requires landlords to pay relocation fees. Dial up a landlord in Cali- fornia trying to kick out a tenant in the Bay Area and the topic will likely elicit reactions ranging from genuine frustration to passion- ate rant. Certainly such laws don't guarantee that a renter who wants to stay put will stay housed indefinitely. Plenty of landlords know how to skirt the rules. ey are business people. is is Amer- ica. If landlords can get $900 for an $800 apartment, why not? Sitting across from Fritz at a conference table is Kendall Boyd, director of the city's Human Relations Commission. He says rent-control laws have a "mixed bag of success." And that controlling a private contract between two people can stir outrage. "Cries of socialism," he says. Boyd believes in the mission of education, deconstructing the stigma of affordable housing, making land- lords understand that folks who make $12 an hour need a decent place to live too. Not an easy sell. Just last year, Prospect residents protested a 198-unit affordable-housing proj- ect for seniors proposed by Chris Dischinger of LDG Development. In October, Metro Council denied a rezoning request. (A lawsuit is pending and federal civil rights inves- tigators are looking into Metro Council's decision.) One particular area of Louisville with hundreds of renters and a high eviction rate has Cathy Hinko, director of the Metropoli- tan Housing Coalition, especially concerned. It's that north-central section of Russell, with an eviction rate of 8.5 percent. Nearly 700 people live there, 219 of them children. A "ring" of investment projects surrounds these households, Hinko says. A $30-million neighborhood revitalization is planned for the Beecher Terrace public-housing complex and Russell. A new YMCA is slated to open next year, not to mention a proposed track-and- field facility to the west. Hinko applauds investment and progress. But she's nervous rent will climb, evictions too. Already 46 percent of renters in this area are cost-burdened. Fritz says avoiding gentrification of Russell is a priority among city leaders. "We are absolutely having those conversations," he says, adding that people who live in Russell now should have "the abil- ity to stay there should they so choose." Fritz says he's reviewing tools used in other cities, like tax moratoriums on affordable-housing properties. But Hinko wants more urgency and action before investors start scooping up property in hopes of a profit. "What is the damn plan for these 700 people?" she wonders. On Derby weekend, Fleming packs up and leaves his mom's house. His aunts help him move, requesting Beyoncé on the stereo as they unload his belongings at a three-bedroom house in the Park DuValle neighborhood. A family friend agreed to rent it to Fleming at $638 per month. After a year, he will have the option to buy. On a warm May afternoon, he picks up Josiah from school and heads inside to a cozy family room that sits off the kitchen. "is was an addi- tion," he explains, patting the wall, proudly giving a tour. ere's math homework on the kitchen table, Fleming's weights in the base- ment, bags of books in Josiah's room. "Josiah's at home," Fleming says, smiling. "He tells people his home has a garage."

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