Yesterday afternoon Metro Council representatives Cheri Bryant-Hamilton, Attica Scott, Kelly Downard and Jerry Miller participated in a public meeting about housing, and specifically vacant and abandoned properties.
Councilwoman Scott facilitated the meeting.
The meeting, held at a tiny community meeting place on Amy street in Shawnee, was very well attended by various members of the community.
At the beginning of the meeting, many residents spoke before the committee, addressing their concerns. There were several themes shared within concerns raised by members of the community, who were predominantly Black and residents of West Louisville neighborhoods. These concerns surrounded cleanliness, public health issues, safety and property values. Bonnie Cole, President of the Shawnee Neighborhood Association suggested that all neighborhoods should have some level of involvement in strategies for resolving the epidemic of vacant properties in Louisville.
There were several planned speakers at the meeting, as well.
Kathy Hinko of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition (MHC), Jenny Jean Davidson from the Network Center for Community Change (NC3) and Mary McGuire, leader of Louisville Metro's Vacant and Abandoned Properties Initiative, all spoke to various tidbits of facts and research about Louisville's vacant properties.
Research highlights included that out of 2961 parcels, or addresses, researched by NC3 in West Louisville, 15% of those properties were vacant. MHC reminded attendees that a vacant property is not necessarily a foreclosed property. Some vacant properties are simply abandoned, have owners who do not live in the neighborhood or are in deceased. Every neighborhood involved in MHC's vacant property campaign identified vacant properties as one of their top three neighborhood concerns.
Several attendees mentioned their concern about what would happen to these vacant properties now that so much attention is being given to them. A few people even outright stated that there may be a land-grab in Black communities, which may ultimately remove ownership of the neighborhood from the people who live there.
MHC and NC3 have several events coming up where concerned citizens can learn more about the status of vacant properties in Louisville.
March 21st at 12:00PM at the Urban League, 1535 W. Broadway, MHC & NC3 are holding a public forum for the release of MHC's issue paper, Louisville's foreclosure recovery: Understanding & responding to the Impact of Foreclosure Sales
March 26th from 5:30 to 7:30pm at O'Shea's downtown location (123 W Main Street), MHC is hosting a Housing Happening Hour. Snacks will be provided and there will be a cash bar.
More information about MHC can be found at http://www.metropolitanhousing.org
More information about NC3 can be found at http://makechangetogether.org/
img via MHC's website
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