Louisville, KY

Housing discrimination suit filed

August 10, 2010
A lawsuit was filed Tuesday by the U.S. Justice Department against the owners, developers, architects and civil engineers of Park Place Apartments in Louisville.
     The lawsuit, filed in federal court, alleged the 276-unit complex failed to provide accessible features required by the Fair Housing Act.
     The lawsuit claimed Kevin D. Cogan, Edwynn Burckle, George E. Clark, Doris Cogan, Bayus-Evola Architects, James A. Hall, Hall Construction Company, Mindel Scott & Associates Inc. and Willett Engineering Company discriminated against persons with disabilities when they designed and constructed Park Place. Some of the issues included interior doors that are too narrow for wheelchairs; kitchens and bathrooms that limit or prevent individuals who use wheelchairs from maneuvering about them; thermostat controls that are mounted above the maximum reach height of persons who use wheelchairs; and routes from the public access parking areas to apartment units and to site amenities that are not accessible to persons who use wheelchairs.

Jewish family allegedly harassed by neighbor

July 27, 2010
They may look happy now, but Jack Arnold says seeing his two granddaughters smile is no longer normal, ever since Jeff Greiss allegedly began harassing him and his family.
     Jack Arnold says, "My daughter is not sleeping. She's having nightmares. I'm having extreme nightmares." Arnold and his family are Messianic Jews, a religious movement that differs from mainstream Christianity and from Judaism by combining elements of each into a single faith. They say Jeff Greiss, known as Brother Jeff throughout the community, has harassed them for years because of their religious beliefs. Candice Arnold, Jack’s daughter, says "I have been told to repent, that I'm a Jewish [expletive]. I've been told that I'm going to hell."

Coalition for Homeless seeks to join lawsuit against Louisville

January 12, 2010
The Coalition for the Homeless has asked to join a federal lawsuit alleging that the city broke federal law when it prevented Wayside Christian Mission from moving to the Original Highlands.
     The nonprofit coalition, which represents shelters and homeless service providers in Louisville, argued in a motion filed Friday that it should be allowed to join the suit because the outcome will affect its members’ ability to provide services. The lawsuit, filed by Wayside Christian Mission, was moved in December from Jefferson Circuit Court to U.S. District Court.
     The coalition alleges that because Louisville Metro’s land-development code appears to lack a zoning designation for homeless shelters, the code effectively makes it illegal to operate a shelter or offer services to the homeless.

Louisville zoning task force meets on shelter issue

December 11, 2009
The hot button issue of race was raised Friday at the first meeting of a special task force looking at homeless shelter zoning for Metro Louisville.
     Wayside Christian Mission's Nina Moseley raised the issue about the makeup of the task force.
     It was her organization's purchase of the Hotel Louisville which prompted a look at homeless shelter zoning and she's concerned changes could prove discriminatory.
     Members will ultimately make a recommendation on how homeless shelters should be addressed in the land code. Right now, there is a gap in the Metro Development Code when it comes to homeless shelters.

Family told to remove holiday decorations from front lawn

December 11, 2009
Instead of ho ho ho, it's no no no. No decorations that is. The Adcock family has until Friday to remove everything out of their front lawn in the Shadowood town homes located near Wesport Road in Louisville.
     They say it's a Christmas in crisis, first for them since they've lived there for 20 years.
     It’s an inflatable winter wonderland in Mark and Rebecca Adcock's front lawn, decorated with a Christmas theme.

Christian-only insurance benefits hit snag in Kentucky

September 26, 2009
Anthony Baize of Sellersburg, Ind., was shopping for a homeowner's insurance policy in 2006 when he saw an interesting offer from GuideOne Mutual Insurance Co. - extra benefits and discounts for "churchgoers."
     Nick Valenzuela was looking for renter's insurance for his Louisville apartment when he saw the same "FaithGuard" deal offering $750 in "tithe" insurance for policyholders who are disabled, and waiving the deductible for property lost or stolen at church.
     But the policies didn't seem right to Baize, an atheist, or to Valenzuela, an agnostic, because the benefits the company and its agents advertised are available only to Christian churchgoers, according to court records.
     They filed complaints with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and later the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, alleging discrimination based on religion by the West Des Moines, Iowa, company and two agencies that sell its policies in Louisville and Lexington, Ky.

Cutting the Human Relations Commission

June 15, 2009
The Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission is on the local budget chopping block, according to city council documents obtained by WHAS-11 television. The Commission is the city agency charged with investigating civil rights complaints in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations.
     The Commission appears on a list of non-essential agencies, according to WHAS. The Louisville Metro Council created the list to identify agencies that were "not required to fulfill the mission of this city," Metro Council President Kelly Downard told WHAS.
     Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission Other city departments and programs facing heavy cuts or possible elimination include swimming pools, the Office of International Affairs, the Department of Neighborhoods, the Downtown Development Corporation, and the Operation Brightside anti-litter program.
     The Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission is partially funded by the Metro government and has contracts with federal agencies to investigate employment and housing cases. Carolyn Miller Cooper heads the agency as its executive director. She was promoted from assistant director last year and has been a staple in Louisville's civil rights community for more than a decade.

Louisville subdivision's lot restrictions debated

January 06, 2009
African Americans who toiled as domestic servants and farm laborers for wealthy households around Prospect in the 1920s deserved modest country homes of their own at the end of the day.
     That's what prominent black entrepreneur James T. Taylor had in mind when he built a subdivision off River Road more than 80 years ago.
     Having worked for wealthy white estates in the area himself, "he was trying to give the blacks a nice place to live," said Martin Dunbar, 80, who lives in the subdivision and was a pallbearer in Taylor's funeral in 1965.
     The Taylor subdivision was ground-breaking -- perhaps the only one carved out in Louisville or its suburbs specifically for African Americans through deed restrictions, said Richard Jett, Louisville's historic preservation officer.
     And even today, it is one of the few areas of moderately priced homes in 40059, the state's wealthiest ZIP code.
     But now that history is in danger of disappearing, amid a debate about whether that's a good thing or bad.

Foreclosures impacting local econony

April 24, 2008
A major factor in the sluggish economy is the growing number of home foreclosures.
     The issue has affected every segment of society, but according to the Louisville Real Estate Brokers Association, minorities, in particular, African Americans, are taking the hardest hit.
      home on Sunset Avenue in Louisville's Shawnee-Chickasaw area is in foreclosure, one of several vacant houses within a couple of blocks where banks have taken possession.
     "It's unbelievable that these houses, these people that are working people, are not able to afford these houses," said resident Jack White.


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