MHC Releases the 2019 State of Metropolitan Housing Report

Download the 2019 State of Metropolitan Housing Report: http://www.metropolitanhousing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/2019-State-of-Metropolitan-Housing-Report_LR.pdf

The 2019 State of Metropolitan Housing Report is subtitled 22,000 Equities: Addressing Racial Gaps in Homeownership and Wealth. The gap in ownership rates between Black households and White households in Louisville is based on overt discrimination over decades in Louisville and the nation. In addition, our findings show that between 2000 and 2017, Black homeownership rates declined, Black homeowners experienced disproportionate losses in home values, Black household incomes continued to remain far below the median income of Louisville/Jefferson County, and Black households earn a disproportionately smaller share of Louisville aggregate household income.

All of these facts unveil the scale of the racial wealth gap and the obstacles Black households face in building and maintaining wealth. Addressing these disparities is imperative for a thriving Louisville as we look to the next decade. MHC Executive Director Cathy Hinko cites the history, “One hundred years ago Louisville elected officials passed an ordinance that, block by block, mandated racial composition. Imagine the effort and racial animus that went into that effort. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down that law, those elected officials turned to an alternative method of zoning to create and maintain segregation. The banks and federal housing policy overtly supported this – everyone should look at Louisville’s Redlining Project- and this perfect storm of racism has been successful for one hundred years. Our Metro Council is enforcing the policies from the past. And you have only to look at Louisville to see how effective it has been and still remains.”

The analysis within the 2019 State of Metropolitan Housing Report is the next step from the 2018 Report which looked at involuntary displacement. As new investments bring the opportunity for much needed and welcome prosperity in lower income areas, those investments can also displace long-standing neighbors unless there is intense planning and attention focused on the current residents. How do we bring prosperity to the people and not just plots of land?

“There must be a larger framework that supports a new approach to development in Louisville. Our overtly racist past is still controlling most of our policies and has been very effective in creating and maintaining this wealth divide. Concerns about fair housing must be front and center in all development projects and policies – specifically protecting existing affordable housing and creating new affordable housing everywhere. We must create a suite of policy tools to proactively protect at risk residents.”

MHC’s Report contains policy recommendations as well as action steps for advocates. From the racial and power imbalance in Eviction Court to taking advantage of the new Comprehensive Plan to have all developers- whether residential, commercial or industrial- contribute to creating fair and affordable housing opportunity through inclusion or cash contribution- MHC highlights issues and facilitates advocacy by those who understand the issues. Three initiatives that MHC and its partners will be introducing are the design of an app for renters to save documents and create form letters; creating a new oral history collection focused on housing discrimination against Black families who were barred from purchasing housing during the post-World War II boom; and the addition of two more Renter Center videos.

The Metropolitan Housing Coalition, made up of over 300 member organizations and individuals, has educated and advocated for fair, safe and affordable housing and increased housing choices for all people in the Louisville MSA, for over 25 years. For more information on MHC, visit our website at www.metropolitanhousing.org. All MHC reports and publications are available as free downloads on the Web site.

This year’s report is made possible by the support of Russell: A Place of Promise, The Gheens Foundation, REBOUND, Inc., PNC Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, New Directions Housing Corporation, River City Housing, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville and University of Louisville’s Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research.