2012 State of Metropolitan Housing Report Released at Public Forum Held at the Mayor’s Gallery
MHC released the 2012 State of Metropolitan Housing Report (SMHR), at a press conference and forum on Thursday, November 29th at the Mayor’s Gallery. The forum opened with a statement by Virginia Peck, Director of the Louisville Metro Department of Community Services and Revitalization (CSR)- the main funder of this year’s SMHR through its Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) Grant. Ms. Peck spoke of the importance of the SMHR, and also thanked the CSR staff members and the non-profit developers who worked so hard to successfully implement NSP in Louisville, a federal program designed to address the issue of vacant properties.
MHC Board President Christie McCravy then welcomed all attendees and thanked the sponsors of the SMHR: Louisville Metro Department of Community Services and Revitalization; Louisville Metro Council Neighborhood Development Fund- with thanks to Metro Councilmembers Marianne Butler, Attica Woodson Scott, Tina Ward Pugh, Glen Stuckel, Stuart Benson, Robin Engel, Jon Ackerson, Cheri Bryant Hamilton, Tom Owen, David Yates, Kelly Downard, David Tandy, and Mary Woolridge ; PNC Bank; Fifth Third Bank; and the Gannett Foundation. Ms. McCravy also thanked the research team from the University of Louisville Center for Environmental Policy and Management (CEPM)– Lauren Heberle, Carol Norton, John Vick, and Allison Smith- for their great work on the report.
MHC Executive Director Cathy Hinko then discussed the impact of the report’s findings, observing that “Our housing scene has changed.” Among the many issues she discussed, she noted our great need to reinvest in our neighborhoods by rehabilitating and reusing vacant properties. She also emphasized our need for more affordable units for families throughout our community- as demonstrated by the record number of JCPS students who experienced homelessness during the 2011-12 school year.
Dr. Lauren Heberle, Director of CEPM, then opened the presentation of the report’s findings by describing CEPM’s role in the community and thanking all the cooperative partners in government and community-based organizations that provide the data that make the SMHR possible.
John Vick, M.S. then presented a summary of this year’s focus topic: vacant properties. He detailed important issues we face and made policy recommendations: establish a local vacant property database; mandatory vacant property registration; using properties to serve a growing rental market; using the land bank to assemble land for redevelopment and to think beyond single properties when planning; eliminate the sale of tax liens to third party-investors that strips our city of its ability to control problem properties; and advocate for state legislation to promote brownfields redevelopment. Vick closed his presentation with a summary of the impacts of the NSP program in Louisville, highlighting the jobs and revenues created by the 17 home ownership units rehabilitated through the program.
Dr. Allison Smith then presented data highlights from the report’s 9 annual measures of fair and affordable housing, emphasizing the gap between median income in Louisville and what it takes to afford fair market rent and our 21% increase in the number of children experiencing homelessness in JCPS, among other issues. For the first time, the 2012 SMHR includes data on the number of children experiencing homelessness in the MSA’s public school systems; before MHC reported only on Jefferson County Public Schools.
Curtis Stauffer, MHC Development Director/Advocacy Project Coordinator, concluded the forum with a call to action, highlighting steps people can take today to advocate for affordable housing and reinvestment in our neighborhoods.
The SMHR examines nine housing indicators that MHC tracks to assess annual progress on affordable housing opportunities in the 13-county metropolitan area including foreclosures, homeownership rates, homelessness, and renters with excessive cost burden, among other topics. The report clearly demonstrates Metropolitan Louisville’s growing need for safe, fair, and affordable housing.
The SMHR release has received great media coverage!
Two pieces on WFPL by Devin Katayama. “Report: Vacant Housing Unequally Plagues West End” and “Louisville Doesn’t Do Good Enough Job Tracking Vacant Properties”