Louisville, KY

A troubling day in the neighborhood

April 23, 2008
Seeking tranquility for her family, Shekela Brasher moved to the 2200 block of Franklin Avenue, the narrow dead-end of a thoroughfare nestled in the Pleasure Ridge Park neighborhood, flanked by Dixie Highway and Cane Run Road, last July.
     “I was looking for a quiet place,” she said. Being a single black mother of three, Brasher, 33, wanted stability and decided that purchasing a home was paramount. She’d lived in West Louisville her whole life, but she worried about raising three teenagers there because of violent crime in certain areas.
     Once she settled in, Brasher adored the house and neighborhood. “We loved it,” she said. “It was peaceful.”
     Ten months later, however, Brasher had moved out of her dream home after a dispute with a neighbor escalated into what she described as intimidation, violence and racist threats.

Justice Department sues, alleges housing violates ADA

March 09, 2008
The Justice Department is suing more than two dozen local architects, engineers, developers and real estate investors, saying they built multifamily housing that doesn't provide adequate access for people with disabilities.
     Eleven Louisville-area housing developments with a total of more than 900 units are targeted in the lawsuit for issues such as doors and hallways that are too narrow, sidewalks with incorrect slopes, and kitchens and bathrooms that lack space for wheelchair users, all in violation of federal laws that protect the disabled.
     Donald J. Cook, a developer linked to all 11 projects, said he has already spent more than $100,000 in fees for attorneys and consultants since he first became aware of the inquiry about a year ago. Cook said he's not aware of any complaints from residents at the developments, and he said some of the problems outlined in the federal lawsuit conflict with state building codes he was required to follow when the projects were built.

HUD presents grant funding to state Human Rights Commission

January 22, 2008
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) presented today a check to the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights for just under $100,000 at the commission’s monthly meeting at KCHR headquarters in Louisville.
     The commission is honored to be a recipient of the $99,800 Fair Housing Initiative Program (FHIP) Grant to provide Fair Housing Education and Outreach programs to people with disabilities and immigrant and refugee communities across Kentucky. These programs will work to educate people about the rights and responsibilities under the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Kentucky Fair Housing Act.
     "This FHIP grant will help the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights to provide critical programs to ensure a safe and prosperous future for the people of our state as we learn more how to live and work together, enjoying the rights to equality and the benefits to everyone of diversity and mutual understanding," said John J. Johnson, executive director of the state Human Rights Commission. "This money is sorely needed in light of the commission’s already small budget and the state’s budget crisis," he said. "We are concerned about our capability to reach the 120 counties of Kentucky while our state population quickly grows in diversity, and we very much appreciate this HUD funding," Director Johnson said.

Suit over children's home to advance

July 25, 2007
Lawyers suing over state funding of a Baptist children's agency can interview some former residents of the agency's group homes who complained of religious coercion there, a federal judge has ruled.
     But despite the procedural victory for the plaintiffs, the case won't go much farther if the state and the Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children have their way.

Racially offensive fliers target Metro councilwoman

July 11, 2007
During the past two weeks, Fairdale residents have found fliers using racially offensive language mailed to their homes or tossed on their lawns and driveways.The fliers target Metro Councilwoman Vicki Welch, who represents the Fairdale area, and accuse Welch of supporting public housing in Fairdale.
     In addition to racial slurs, the fliers show Welch's photo and list her home address and phone number. They encourage residents to let Welch know that they do not support "rising crime" in the area caused by "illegal aliens" and African Americans.

Controversial fliers distributed

June 28, 2007
A racial slur and the n-word in fliers are causing controversy. The fliers were given out in Fairdale by a group of people protesting a housing development.
     The fliers say they don't want certain racial groups to move into one local community.
     In addition to using racial slurs, the group handing them out is targeting their councilwoman to get their point across.
     "These particular people who are distributing fliers happen to be in Fairdale," says Bill White, the president of the National Socialists Workers’ Party. "And they think that Fairdale and other white areas of Louisville should be completely off limits to any settlement of Negroes and other non-whites."

Study shows radical split for single mothers who need a place to live

June 27, 2007
The line on the map goes north and south, almost right through the middle of the city. In the west half live most of the single mothers in Louisville — the map is dark with high concentrations. The east is lightly shaded, airy, a place where life seems to be a little bit easier. We know this intuitively, although laying it out this way is something to behold.
     Forty-five percent of single mothers live in just five Metro Council districts, according to the latest report from the nonprofit Metropolitan Housing Coalition. The focus of "The Dividing Line" is women and housing patterns, somewhat unusual subject matter for a housing study, said Cathy Hinko, MHC’s executive director. That is to say, it hasn’t been studied much, nationally or otherwise.
      "We knew there were a lot of female heads of household, but when we actually looked, we realized they’re one-third of all of us," Hinko said in an interview last week. "That was startling."
      Of the households headed by women in Louisville, 41 percent are single with no children. The rest are either elderly (30 percent) or single mothers (29 percent), both focuses of the study.

Youths settle into a home like they never had before

June 27, 2007
The walls are freshly painted, the furniture is new and the teenage boys moving in are excited about living in the spacious, five-bedroom home off Newburg Road in Louisville.
     "I was amazed," Anthony Rogers, 16, said of the home he's been waiting to move into after living at Brooklawn, a residential center for abused or neglected children. "This will be like living in a real house."
     Brooklawn Child & Family Services began moving the first residents into the group home yesterday -- after a delay of several months caused by opposition from some nearby residents and a legal challenge that is pending.
     But the state recently issued a license for what will be a supervised group home for eight teenage boys. And David Graves, president of Brooklawn, said the private, nonprofit children's agency saw no reason to delay the move further.

Bingham Center woes spur debate on residents' housing

June 13, 2007
After more than 40 years in state institutions, James Holland likes his small home in a Louisville neighborhood.
     Born with severe mental retardation and other disabilities, Holland, 51, proudly refers to "my house" and looks forward to visits from his sister at the supervised residence he shares with two other men.
      "Sister's going to be here!" said Holland, who moved to the home last year after spending 23 years at the Bingham Center, a state-run institution for adults with mental retardation on the grounds of Central State Hospital in eastern Jefferson County.

Ruling may pave way for Brooklawn home

May 30, 2007
Plans for a group home for teenage boys off Newburg Road survived an indirect and unusual challenge recently when planning officials supported an interpretation of regulations that would allow the home to open.
     After a public hearing that lasted nearly three hours, the Louisville Metro Board of Zoning Adjustment agreed with an interpretation of regulations by Dawn Warrick, assistant director of Louisville Metro Planning & Design Services, that said the home could open without a zoning change or a conditional-use permit. Unless challenged, the ruling means that Brooklawn Family & Child Services can proceed with plans for a residential care facility for as many as 10 boys on Schuff Lane, off Newburg Road near the Watterson Expressway.

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