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Amber Duke: Okay, today is Monday, July 16th, 2012. This is Amber Duke interviewing Cathy Hinko, who is the executive director of Metropolitan Housing Coalition. We are meeting in the offices of the MHC. So Cathy, thank you for your time today.

Caty Hinko: You're welcome. Happy to do it!

AD: Good, well. For the recording, can you acknowledge that you signed and understood the consent form I gave you?

CH: Consent and gift form, yes I did understand it and signed it.

AD: Great, can you say and spell your name for the record.

CH: Cathy C-A-T-H-Y Hinko H-I-N-K-O

AD: Okay, and can you tell me when and where were you born?

CH: I was born November 12, 1952, in New York City, NY.

AD: Oh, okay! Well, how did you end up here in Louisville?


CH: I lived a few places and then went to law school in Nashville, TN. And when I graduated I worked in TN with legal services and the Louisville office of Legal Service, which is called Legal Aid Society here, had an excellent reputation. And, um, I applied to come here and moved here in 1983.

AD: Okay. So you started out working with Legal Aid Services and as I understand you transitioned at some point to working with the Jefferson County-

CH: Housing Authority- yeah.

AD: Okay.

CH: Yes. I worked in legal services in TN and here in Louisville. So I was a attorney for 9 years- practicing. Then I left to run the Section 8 program at 2:00the Housing Authority of Jefferson County. The County Housing Authority by contract also ran the city's Section 8. So we had a merged Section 8 Program with several thousand certificates at the time, we hadn't invented vouchers yet.

AD: And for someone who has never heard of Section 8 housing, just explain the basics of that program.

CH: Section 8 tells you one thing: that there is a private owner. But you can divide Section 8 into two branches. One branch Section 8 attaches to the family; the family gets rent assistance wherever they live they go out into the community and find a landlord who is willing to rent and agree to the terms 3:00including the rent limits. That is what we call the certificates or vouchers or portable Section 8. The other branch of Section 8 again involves private owners but is site specific. Like public housing. The assistance is attached to the unit; whoever lives in the unit gets assisted, so whenever they leave the unit unless they get some other form of assistance, they are not assisted.

AD: Okay, so you handled both?

CH: No, not entirely. What I had was the portable Section 8 certificates. Certificates and then Certificates and Vouchers. We also worked for the moderate rehabilitation program for single occupancy and some family units, so I did 4:00that. And then, um- I did that- I can't remember if its 10 years, then I became director of the Housing Authority of Jefferson County and that included some public housing that we owned only about 200 units. By that time we had grown the Section 8 program from 3,800 vouchers, certificates, slots of assistance to about 8,000.

AD: Talk to me a little bit about how that growth happens?

CH: Well I am going to hurt my shoulder patting myself on the back because those were the Regan years. I came in 1988 to the Housing Authority and we were exceedingly aggressive in getting any kind of-additional Section 8 slots of 5:00assistance. But, you might recall those were the times they called the head of HUD "Silent Sam Pierce" because he was virtually - unseen and the HUD budget was cut almost 70% during those years. That was part of the Regan years and then of course 1990. But there were still all these cutbacks because you were dealing with the HUD budget that had been very small. So for instance in the Nixon years you might have 350,000 additional slots of subsidized housing from all the programs, public housing, Section 8, both sides of Section 8, in the years that 6:00are the last part of the '80's early '90s you might get 15,000 new slots of assistance for people.

I also remind you that was a huge time for the growth of homelessness. That was also a time where the Congress was so aware of the growth of homelessness that they put in new criteria saying "everyone must be in a preference category." They set up a federal preference category which had not existed before. Which was saying the people most in need the most exigent housing circumstances. People who paid over 50% of their income, homeless, or in substandard housing. 7:00And that was when public housing for instance changed from people in a variety of income standards to people who were uniformly really poor and really vulnerable.

And if, if it's bad or--[referring to ants crawling in interview area]

AD: Oh, we're ok-- [laughs]

AD: Okay, are there any other things you want to say about your work before merger and then I understand your position changed when merger happened?

CH: Right, now remember, the section 8 was already merged-

AD: Was already merged, okay-

CH: It was a very progressive thing. They already merged. And then there was a change in the federal law that allowed portability of vouchers. We used to have city vouchers and you had to lease within the city limits. And county vouchers you had to lease outside city limits in the county. When portability came 8:00because we were already merged, portability became an accounting issue. Not an issue for people. People got a voucher and we just said wherever. We knew by the numbers where people were, which program to build. But, in terms of the consumer it was very easy, you just got a voucher.

AD: From what I understand, thinking about regionally, with the portability of vouchers, someone could apply to move there from Louisville to Jefferson County, is that correct?

CH: Yeah to Hawaii, they could go anywhere. What we saw was mostly was between city and county limits so that was.. And we saw a lot of people move into the city. That was a big trend at the time. After merger I 9:00continued- we had two housing authorities for about a year, so I was still there, and then the housing authorities merged. When that happened I went to work for the housing authority as Director of Strategic Planning and I stayed there, well I came to MHC in 2004, in November 2004 to do a specific program. And in June 2005 I became the director after Jane left.

AD: I want to move back into something that I read and wanted to get more detail about. Was that, one of the, in addition to growing the section 8 program, and there was a huge need for that. Because those numbers were huge. One of the other things you worked on was partnering with service agencies to assist families. So I wanted you to talk a little bit about that work.


CH: By the time I left, 15, 1-5 in case you can't hear and think it's 50, 15% of all vouchers had some sort of offered service attached to them. We did that through a number of ways. What's so interesting when you are in the long enough you see presented as a new and innovative idea, things that had been done a long time ago. For instance mixed income, well guess what? There were rent ranges in public housing were when I was practicing law. People were let in with rent ranges. So that's an innovation that actually harps back to old policy. Right now there is family self-sufficiency. We made an agreement with the city. The city county had merged human services as well, before merger. So we worked with 11:00them to offer services. There is a program now called HPRP, Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing, that has just needed and been adopted into the HARF Act, which is a new federal law and it's about prevention of homeless. We had already done a program like that here in Louisville, just by us agreeing to with all of the community ministries and there was a series of questions and if you met whatever number of criteria out of that, it was clear you were on the verge of homelessness and you could get a Section 8 voucher. I'm just going to say voucher for now on, because that's the current term.


So we already did that and we called it the Homeless Prevention Family Project (HFPP), so that's an innovation that we were doing, you know, 15 years ago. And prevention - so a lot of what I see is stuff that we had done, and we had Family Scholar House, which is a brilliant concept was Project Women and we had partnered with Project Women when it was a much smaller program. So, there were a variety of partnerships where there would be case management or some other services. We even did one with KPTA for people aging, people who were deficient in three or more activities of daily living. We had a special grant actually with them and vouchers that we used, so yeah we did a lot of that. Am I just rambling?


AD: No this is wonderful. I want to ask, well one, you've mentioned that some of these things appeared elsewhere after you've done them here, so one, would you say they were national, regional models that were followed or was it just sort of we are doing this here, they are also doing it there and it just organically popped up? Or is it hard to say?

CH: I have to say I follow a policy that it's easier to get forgiveness rather than permission, and flying below the radar. So most of what we set up was very local with our own local people. And that's one of the parts I loved about Louisville; there were so many organizations and people willing to be partners. Without us paying them any money. We would put up the slots of assistance; we didn't put up money for them to operate. But they saw that there mission could 14:00only be furthered if there folks were stable in housing and they were willing to put up the services. We had so many partnerships, I even, some of the partnerships were less willing than others. We worked with the cabinet, the state cabinet, CPS and because of the work I had done at legal services I knew that there were times where the family was ready to be reunited or was going to be split solely, the sole remaining issue was housing and we formed a -- we reached out to them to form a partnership. It was a reluctant partnership by CPS, you would have thought they'd have jumped on it with both feet, but we have lots of problems with the case workers not wanting the extra work. I don't know what their loads were, but I would hear lots of things in court and tell lots of 15:00attorneys about this option because the case worker never took to bat. Sometimes people were a little reluctant [laughs]. But for the most part in Louisville there were so many people willing to do a partnership. It was a lot of fun.

AD: So that was my second question. What was the environment like for building these partnerships?

CH: It was easy. I will say one of my best friends I met when I was with Legal Services, Legal Aid, and they had a program, it was with Human Services, the combined County Human Services, they had a program where they would help people 16:00with a month's rent. And then the landlord was not allowed to evict them. And some landlords was evicting someone and I subpoenaed this person [laughing] and that's how we became best friends. Well, there were just all these people who were so ready to take extra work or reach out to make programs work. I just found it very easy for the most part - to create these. I found there was a real culture of cooperation and working as colleagues. Like I said, there were isolated incidents of people being less enthusiastic.

I'll tell you what we did was we worked really hard to make Section 8 useable to help pay a mortgage. And the federal government actually passed a law and changed it and then passed the law again because no one was doing it because HUD refused to set up regulations. Well when the feds passed it the second time, 17:00saying "no we really mean it and you won't be wearing an orange jumpsuit if you do this." Our local HUD office and our state financing housing agency KHC, and state and inner city governments, city and county government, worked with us and we had the first Section 8 for home ownership program in the United States because we didn't even wait for HUD to have the demonstration. We said as soon as we knew it wasn't illegal even before HUD, you know HUD had been so loathed 18:00to promulgate the regulations we just said we're doing it ourselves and we did. In 1998, we had our first homeowners, '97 or '98. Before HUD demonstration projects came into being.

So that's- those were people who, the guy from FHA and HUD, he said "Sure, we'll give an FHA guaranteed loan as long as the person qualified." Then we even worked a lot of Fannie Mae for them, we got a local bank who would take two payments. Republic Bank, that's the beauty of a locally owned bank, is that they aren't so large they can't change their structure. So Republic Bank could take two payments. One from us and one from the client. Then we got Fannie Mae to change the way they counted the Section 8. If they counted as income and you can 19:00only put 30% of your income towards a mortgage its' much less than if you count it as 100% of the Section 8 goes to your mortgage payment, it allows you to buy much more house. Fannie Mae finally changed that and we started working. So we found great people throughout the whole state.

AD: Good.

CH: People who were willing to not just work as colleagues but even push the edge in their own jobs.

AD: We are going to come back to that more conversation about people's willingness and that sort of thing toward the end. I want to move into, you mentioned briefly that you first had contact with the, well not first had contact, but you came to MHC to work on a project in November '04 and then in the summer of '05 you were directing. Without getting into personnel issues of 20:00why you left the Housing Authority. I just wanted you to talk about that transition and why it happened.

CH: People were nice to me, but there wasn't really a role and there were some very entrenched power- That's not bad, I mean that's just, you know. We didn't really merge; we became part of the Housing Authority of Louisville. It wasn't really a merger. So I was there in strategic planning and I got to do some interesting things in terms of stuff about utilities subsidy and some other stuff that was interesting. But it was kind of the sinecure without a lot of scope, I don't know if they filled Director of Strategic Planning after I left. 21:00It was very nice of them - but it was clear they hadn't quite understood what I could or couldn't do. And so - I left to work with the program that MHC- got the non-profit Housing Alliance which was our first, which is the industry group and the only industry group for non-profit housing developers. I did that and then, then Jane left because she was having a second child and didn't want the hours of -. It was quite amicable, everything was quite amicable. People were very nice to me at the Housing Authority; it didn't have as much latitude. Not even latitude, it sound like someone prevented me, I just didn't have as much scope a 22:00job. And I just felt it would be easier - and if they did fill it and someone else came in, it would have been a more defined job.

AD: Well tell me about the mission and the work of MHC as if you were explaining this to someone who had not heard of this organization.

CH: We are an education and advocacy organization around fair and affordable housing. We do not do direct service, we do not have housing. We're not individual advocates. If you have a dispute with the housing authority we're not going to handle that unless it's an issue that needs to change for everybody. And that's sometimes how you find out about things, is somebody says well my child who's disabled, there's something happening here and then we would go and 23:00talk with the Housing Authority and say, gee you know that rule should change as it applies to everybody.

So we start from a base of data, so we write reports. All of our reports have an analysis attached to it and every analysis includes a line of action. So we are about action, I would say we are unique in that we arch from data to action. We try and work with groups that really are grassroots groups that really do know how to do street theatre. That's not our forte, but we're not, we're certainly happy to participate, happy to organize. We are a coalition, along the way we 24:00don't do very much just ourselves. We facilitate groups that are working around specific issues, like vacant properties or fair housing. When we write reports whatever we write about we continue to work on that issue whether it's utilities or transportation or the land development code. We do a lot of public education forums, we have a newsletter. The other thing we try to do is try to facilitate the production of affordable housing. And we do that by, we just recently just stopped staffing the non-profit Housing Alliance because it's working so well, they just organized themselves. Several years down the road, you know. But we also have a loan pool for non-profit housing developers, rehabbers. We do things 25:00like look at the land development code, how can we make it easier who wants to build or rehabilitate housing that's affordable. So that's part of our mission as well.

AD: This is sort of my own commentary, but you do all of this currently with the staff of two people and an administrative assistant and a board.

CH: Yes, the administrative assistant works 10 hours a week and we have two full-time people. And that's why coalition is really important. Even our research, we are working on a paper together, you and I. Well the Anne Braden Institute and MHC. The Human Relations Commission, even our research is always done collaboratively. Sometimes we pay for it sometimes funding come another way. But we hardly do anything just ourselves because what would be the point of that.

AD: Right.


CK: Now we are happy to lead, I mean I go to the land development code meetings. But we write about it constantly in our newsletters. We did two forums on the land development code, so that, for instance people in the League of Women Voters now go, oh I get how zoning means why there's segregation in schools. Segregation in housing in directly related to zoning. So that's what we try to do, to get people to think in those ways.

AD: We've talked all around the issue of fair housing; we've just thrown around 27:00fair housing. We've talked about affordable housing. I wanted you for the record to give the basics on Louisville's Fair Housing Law.

CK: Louisville, we have a state and federal law that covers categories. And we have a local law that adds gender identity and sexual orientation. If I could recite them all that would be great for me. Race, color, religion, nationality, sex, familial status -

AD: Disability.

CH: Disability. And then the two, the sexual orientation and gender identity are local ordinances. Now we did a paper where we were able to explain how affordable housing is a remedy useful for fair housing.

AD: Explain that a little bit.


CH: A protected class is not declared a protected class because they won the lottery. A protected class is declared a protected class because there has been codified, systemic, and un-codified and systemic discrimination and access to money, education, financing tools, jobs, employment training, all of these things, free choice of where to live, where to work all are not given to people who are -- I'm not saying any individual I'm saying that has what's happened to a class of people. That's why it's been declared a protected class. And we are 29:00still living with the effects because those things aren't over. They aren't ancient history. And they're really, not even the history isn't ancient history of these things, but that they still go on today.

So it is not a big surprise that as a whole, a protected class would be disproportionately represented in lower income strata. So that affordable housing becomes a tool to bring integration for all protected classes. People with disabilities they don't have the income. Female heads of households with young children, you know we all know the differences in pay for women and men 30:00and then when you see what percent when there is a single parent what percent are women and you compare single women with children with single men with children and you can see vast differences. I mean vast differences in income. So protected classes are disproportionately represented in lower incomes so affordable housing is an effective tool if you want fair housing.

Then we also look at where people live and whatever the intent is, if you see a protected class herded into a very small area even if I mean I don't have to get into intent, it doesn't matter. It is the effect so we know something we're 31:00doing is having this effect. So for instance we looked at neighborhoods where this was happening and saying well heck is it just choice? Is this just simple choice, you know, people choosing to live together. And we looked all of these different factors in the market place we are told are things that people look for in a neighborhood. Like health outcomes, crime, all the different things that, access to schools that you want to attend. All the different factors and what we found is really we don't see those factors in these neighborhoods that would tell us that this is choice. Now the one place where we did not have money to do the research is to actually do surveys and say is this choice or not 32:00choice. But we used market place standards what we are told people look for in a neighborhood and we saw outcomes that did not support that these were neighborhoods of choice.

So then we also looked at what else was happening and we saw for instance only 3% of the land is zoned multi-family. Multi-family is a very useful tool in terms of fair housing. Another 3% allows multi-family housing. So let's get it up to 6% of all the land in Jefferson County allows multi-family. Well first of all that's density so people will be more crowded in that area. We actually support density as a sustainable tool but then we look and we see that 60, almost 70% of the land is zoned single family and 52% is just as an example is 33:00zoned R4 which means you need 9,000 square feet of land and you may put only one family unit on that land.

Well that doesn't take a -- rocket surgeon to realize that is going to drive up the cost beyond it ever being affordable. So when you have a comparison of that kind of policy and exclusivity. It isn't that -- ok, there are some tracks of land, but there are also pockets of where the multi-family is. It's all the 34:00multi-family is in one place and all the single family is in another place. We are told that R4 for instance was a default zoning, but it has gained its own patina of authority and it was zoned that way during a time when it was perfectly legal to discriminate by race and sex, before fair housing laws. So that we find it suspicious that any policy which has a result in which the result is that people in protective classes live in all in one area. And was 35:00promulgated at a time when it was permissible to discriminate. Whether there is or isn't a smoking gun, you know, that policy needs to be redone.

The policy needs to be redone, because you have this outcome. That to me says if that's the outcome then we have to redo it. But then you add to it and I think that's part of what you're researching when these policies went into effect. I'm pretty sure in the county some of these went into effect before our local fair housing laws. And even maybe the federal fair housing laws.

AD: Well so our conversation is really following with my questions, which is great. So I wanted to talk -- wanted to ask you about specific laws, rules, and regulations, custom, common practices that are impediments to fair housing here 36:00in Louisville. Obviously MHC has done an analysis on impediments and done some detailed work on this. I wanted you to talk about that.

CH: Well, what was interesting, when we were hired to write the cities mandated analysis of impediments to fair housing choice that HUD requires as part of planning, when you are using hundreds and millions of dollars? Well if you use any HUD money, we are a large enough jurisdiction we get our own allocation from 37:00HUD, so this is a required document. When we went to do it, we saw that the one they had before, it was not available electronically.

AD: This was in 2007?CH: - 2007 one. It was so disused we could not find a copy of it for a long time; we had to call the person who actually wrote it. It wasn't available electronically to use or edit it was only a PDF; they had to photograph it and send it. It was not very specific. And it was not in use. Now, that is during a time period also when our department of housing and merged government was nonfunctional. There was a time after merger where there really was not a functional department of housing. And in fact the head of the department was brought up on felony charges. There was a lot of failure to follow HUD rules, I have to give credit to the folks who stayed to remedy and were hired. The bar being not committing a felony and adhering to HUD rules 38:00[laughing], you want for a hire bar, but they weren't to meet that bar. Good for them, they had to start from a deficit.

So we knew no one had really done an analysis and we interviewed people in the industry and we wrote up an analysis of impediment and remember this was contract. The city could've changed anything they wanted to change. They didn't. We even pointed out the things we thought could be controversial like the zoning and transportation and they just said no, we'll take it as a whole. Kudos to the 39:00city for taking on what they knew could be a little controversial. And you know we did clearly find that zoning was an impediment to fair housing choice.

We find that in Kentucky, for instance, we really need to have a policy or a law that says as deeds get rewritten, the deeds that contain language about not selling to people who are Negro or of the Jewish persuasion, they are still in deeds. And I'm not saying go back and remove them from all deeds, but as things get sold, to remove that language. Lawyers are so scared of changing anything they keep the language that is actually illegal -- in deeds. It was interesting to have someone, the head of the board -- the head of the board of directors of 40:00the Board of Realtors say she was shocked when she first saw it. We still have on the books in Kentucky a law that says, immigrants; lawful immigrants who buy land it can escheat after seven years if they haven't become citizens.

Now that's not happening, but as few as five or six years ago, it was still a little scary to banks. When this was -- it hadn't been used in decades -- but it was still on the books and still hasn't been changed. We still publish -- areas you know housing by areas and people know what those areas are. You know there's 41:00training about fair housing, but we know that you know people who are showing housing, they you know they -- don't think of it as discriminating, they think of it as helping people. This is where you would want to live. We know that there are -- we know because the results show, this is one that I like to use because everybody's got their ideas about how low income people behave, alright. But middle class African Americans in Louisville were getting mortgages, high cost mortgages, at two or three times the rate of white Americans -- I don't say Americans, but white Louisvillians in that same economic class. Something's 42:00going on because people who are middle class all those things you say, isolated, no banking relationships. Whatever crazy stuff's going around as a theory, that's not true for middle class people. So something is happening in the banking system that says, you know, this is happening. I actually, it's not in the impediments to fair housing, but I actually believe credit scores are the new frontier of de facto if not de jure discrimination, that we will be seeing that -- become a really big racial issue. Because there are some racial differences even though people claim the way you do credit scoring is not racially done. Anyway, I'm sorry I'm getting off topic.

AD: No please --


CH: So the laws range from zoning to practices in real estate to practices in banking. You know that all conspire to keep people in one area, but I think zoning in the basic bones of where we allow housing to be built and I do think that affordable housing and fair housing are so entwined. So smaller lot sizes being able to build single family homes on small lot sizes, you know 3,000 sq. foot or something. Again, totally prohibited in huge slots of Jefferson County and those slots also have -- do not have people in protected classes living there.

AD: Will you say more about the transportation issue?


CH: Well, one of the things we do not have a very -- and it's not TARCs fault, we have -- we have every, every place in America has an AD district, an administrative district or some other -- well an administrative district I think. Part of that administrative district's duty would be about federal transportation dollars. We have the district here called KPTA -- well let me put it this way. KPTA is the staff, the actually decision makers of our district 45:00call themselves the Transportation Policy Committee, TPC. The TPC is the local name for what's known as a Metropolitan Planning Organization or MPO, so we have an MPO called the TPC. I say that a few times so you'll realize -- ok? The city of Louisville has one vote. Jeffersonville has one vote, and equivalent vote. St. Matthews has an equivalent vote, Clark County -- it goes across the river. But you can see how diluted the vote of African Americans that's the easiest one to track. Would be if I get one vote and there's 750,000 of us in St. Matthews, not only is represented in that 750,000 but also has their own and how white is St. Matthews? I mean not exclusively, but you begin to see.

There is a part of the law called Title VI, the discrimination law which 46:00basically says if there is tax money you've got to spend it and it only covers race. It doesn't cover all of the protected classes. So we have not -- we don't have proportional representation on how these dollars are spent. You can see the plans that are all, you can see where the money is being spent and it is in white areas. Money goes to TARC, which is our public transit. But other areas of the country give much higher percentages of their funding to public transit then 47:00we give. We completely subsidized single occupancy vehicle and the dollars get spent in white areas. The single family areas -- so there's not a proportional representation on this transportation policy committee. And de facto the money is spent disproportionally in white areas. So transportation needs even for the areas that are impacted, you know with people and protected classes. The money's not there like it is elsewhere.

So transportation is a big deal, transportation is how people can have more flexibility in where they live. Now, I consider it a sad thing that the very 48:00first and maybe the only asset people in Louisville get is a car because, it diminishes in value the second you own it. But even with that as a reality, the difference between people who have a reliable car and people who don't says where can I really live if there is an emergency. Where I live and it's Payne Street, and where we are now, Cannon and Dutchman's Lane, these are hot spots, but it would take me three hours to get here. Unless I was going to walk a couple of miles, which I could do, but I'm saying you couldn't take the bus if you had two year olds with you. Where I live there is transit, here there is a bus that goes by, it's really not funded well enough, the other thing I was 49:00going to say -- The TPC, they hold their meetings where no one using public transit can get there. There is no bus service for about six hours in the day and smack in the middle of that is when they hold their hearings. So they clearly do not want to hear from transit users. Nor do they in any way broadcast those meetings. In fact, ironically I was told someone thought they had a right of privacy [laughs] at these public meetings. Seriously --

AD: Just because of how inaccessible they are-

CH: Just because they've been led to believe. I have video of this, the room is entirely white, the KPTA staff is white, and that works in transportation. That 50:00isn't true for their services to people who are elderly, but the transportation all white. The representatives are all white, even the supporting players all white. Occasionally, we will see people of color if let's say someone from like John Yarmuth's office comes, just to sit in the audience. They are not a voting member. There is one person that occasionally comes representing someone. So the room is entirely white, which does not add to their cache of [laughs] -- seriously its 2012, they don't even think in those terms about -- and it's a 51:00public meeting voting on public monies. They hold it where people specifically affected by it can't get there. They do not broadcast it and the reason is, I'm sure they are embarrassed -- well you know what; they're not embarrassed [laughs] that they are all white. Most importantly if you look at where the dollars are spent way disproportionately they are in areas that are way dominatingly white. Sorry.

AD: No, that was fine; I just wanted to get that point about transportation and the connection to housing. We've kind of spilled over into this a little bit, but I wanted you to talk about private organizations, businesses -- we talked about realty whether intentionally or not are imposing impediments to fair housing choice in Louisville.


CH: Well every place now has training on fair housing, so the Board of Realtors, the Louisville Apartment Owners has it, the Homebuilders has it. So everybody had training, but I do think from people's experiences -- so this is not in the report because this is anecdotal. That people still consider it helping people to say yes, this is where you would want to live and not here. And do that by race. I think race is the biggest issue there. I think pricing maybe a bigger issue in terms of female heads of household with children, but you know who are out looking for a home. The head of the Human Relations Commission here feels certain that she got a better rate on her mortgage because she did all the 53:00transactions by phone and they did not realize that she was African American because she's from New York and had an accent like a New Yorker. She'll tell you that story, so -- again results we see the results. I have more results from that, the real estate is where this is where people wind up living. What we find is when you look at the complaints filed, with the human relations commission, more complaints about disability are filed than anything else. We think part of the reason for that is with every other protected class, you did it, and you didn't do it. With disability there's an added complexity of ok, will you make a reasonable accommodation. And so I think there is some -- people are still 54:00figuring that out. That is the most; race is the next, sex -- when we count up the complaints. So that's the best to ask people about, complaints. Individual acts of discrimination still occur.

AD: Mmhmm. Will you talk a little bit about NIMBYism?

CH: Not In My Backyard. We worked on a campaign a few years ago, called Yes In My Backyard, YIMBY. We actually have aprons that say "YIMBY."

AD: I have one of those!

CH: Oh, there you go! We did it on the changing demographics, if you want your 55:00neighborhood to remain vital you need to recognize that demographics are changing and that different family configurations will be living in your neighborhood or you won't have people living in your neighborhood. We only got so far [laughs], but I think we see it more in -- the student assignment than anywhere else. The NIMBYism that people choose to live in certain areas and while they would willingly let their child be on a bus forever to go to some schools, do not want their child to be on a bus for any amount of time to, you know, as part of furthering a more inclusive experience of people. As part of 56:00education. So we saw a lot more NIMBYism in the past -- you know what's happening there's not a lot of housing being built. Where ever we see housing being built, we do see outrage that there are apartments. If it's housing that in any way will be affordable, we do see it. And affordable-it's interesting. We've seen three instances, one was in Middletown. There was a condo regime that was approved and the builders couldn't get all of the financing. So they took part of the units, same configurations, part of the units and said these will be 57:00rental and we're getting some HUD financing. This HUD financing wasn't for the lowest income, it wasn't for Section 8. But Middletown then refused it. It wasn't adding any number, and they said rental housing, we don't want those kinds of people; we don't like what happens to it. All that. Mind you, you can rent condos once you own them. So there's that.

We see on Outer Loop someone who is proposing to build apartments and again getting some tax credits that are associated with- that use the word "affordable" in them, but really again are not Section 8 and there is an outcry about it -- about putting that in. But the last few years we haven't see so much because there isn't that much housing getting built. So I say "Oh! I wonder if 58:00it's better", well it's not better is just there weren't opportunities to get mad. I'll tell you where it does spring up, there are persistent rumors about where people relocated from Liberty Green live that aren't even true.

AD: Can you say more about that?

CH: Every neighborhood thinks there are people from Liberty Green living there in vast numbers and that's simply not the case. But we hear that a lot as a one of those persistent rumors. And you can ask Tim Barry about that, he gets a lot of that. You know this neighborhood has -- we also when I was with the Housing Authority but Tim says it's still true -- at least 60 or 65% of the calls to the 59:00Housing Authority saying "oh this person on Section 8 and they're bad and the housing's bad." Turn out they're not Section 8. In fact Section 8 inspects once a year so the housing may not be great, but it's inspected at least once a year if not more often and, you know, people just assume if they see something bad that it is Section 8 and there is no denying that both public housing and Section 8 are predominately African American headed households.

The elderly part of Section 8 is a little wider, but the truth is 70% - so there's always been this huge percent and I don't know why other cities, other 60:00cities actually would use Section 8 for white and public housing for black. Our city never did that so good news, bad news right [laughs]. My theory is when there were the federally mandated preferences that the people who were the most fragile and were the lowest income not a big surprise were African American so it slowly got dominated. In Louisville if someone says "I don't like Section 8", what they really mean is I don't like that there are black people. Sure there are people who say "I don't like the Section 8 program because it's complicated" or whatever. That's a different bureaucratic issue. But Section 8 has become a code word for African Americans. That happened near my neighborhood in Crescent Hill several years ago.


AD: This steps a little bit out what we're talking about here, but just very briefly I kind of feel like a good example of zoning and NIMBYism coming to a public and ugly situation was the relocation of a homeless shelter in Louisville. Will you just talk very briefly about that?

CH: Yeah, Wayside had a homeless shelter on East Market in Phoenix Hill, I do not use that other name. [Amber laughs]. And it was women and children. They had moved the men out, at one point there were men, but they have moved them out. They had worked out something with the East Market Business Association and they 62:00were trying to get the money to do the renovation. And then all of a sudden, the other owners in East Market got really strict and brought to bear a lot of pressure on the physical -- having the physical unit cited. And it was because they had another buyer. So there was -- they had been there for decades. And they had Wayside and they were a good of neighbor as they could possibly be. They made it only women and children, not to say men didn't hang out there. But that's what they had done. They were trying to preserve the historic structure. And it was through the historic structure part that all of a sudden this pressure came to be.


As the neighborhood revitalized, the city did not help the homeless shelter. The city made some promises about helping the homeless shelter and the shelter looked for another place to go. Because the -- actually the person who stumbled into this was actually willing to pay Wayside before they were just trying to close it -- The East Market Business Association was just trying to get it closed and didn't really offer any alternative. At least the person who was going to purchase it, who stumbled into this said, well "I'll give money. You know, I'm not going to do this to you without giving money." So anyway -- so 64:00Wayside was looking around and Mercy Academy had closed and would have been a perfect spot and I actually my fiancé at the time lived in that neighborhood, so I went to all those meetings and it was definitely white and black. It was the neighborhood rose up against it; the council members did nothing to help Wayside. The mayor did nothing to help Wayside although they had encouraged Wayside to move. And said they would help, but they just left them out hanging because there was this controversy there and it was ugly. I attended those meetings, it was ugly.

One of our University of Louisville professors in housing was as ugly as anybody on this. It was really very disturbing. So now, you get the rest of the story 65:00after the city abandoned them, Wayside could not purchase Mercy Academy, there was too much opposition and not enough help. So apparently JCTC wanted this hotel that was being sold and did not get their act together to get the state legislature to fund them. Wayside moved in and bought that building. Which is not the first time that Wayside has basically said "not going to help me, guess what, guess what" [laughs]. They did that before with the place that's the men's' shelter on Muhammad Ali there. They had wanted to get low income housing tax credits and the mayor refused to sign. I don't know the mayor had a big beef 66:00with Wayside for whatever reason refused to sign the letter that was necessary for the tax credits. Wayside purchased it anyway.

So that shelter that's there on Jefferson -- is it Jefferson? Jefferson -- anyway that's -- anyway. That's near, so anyway- that had done that before. So there was Wayside who just said, "no one's going to help us, well guess what we're going to do it without your help" and they took that land. Now along the way Wayside said to the city, oh I know. The neighborhood association, including the professor at U of L brought an action before the Board of Zoning Adjustment saying Mercy could not be used as a homeless shelter and the Board of Zoning 67:00Adjustment actually said this is years after adoption of the zoning code for merged government that "no zoning anywhere in the city the merged city was contemplated for homeless shelters." That there wasn't a category that included it. Which actually was ridiculous because there were shelters all over the place, so it's clear that it wasn't like a big surprise. So clearly they were contemplated and could have been equivalent to several things. But that's where the Board of Zoning Adjustment came and that's where Wayside filed the lawsuit and said, "you know what? Homeless people are disabled, they're disproportionally in various categories of protected classes and this is just hateful".


That's when the city convened to group, that I served on to say, "well what kind of zoning will we allow for homeless shelters?" And it came out well actually -- well all in all. What one of the first things we did was say if there is a lease, so you know all these transitional, but there's a real lease involved like when HUD money's there. If there is a lease that's covered by the Uniformed Residential Landlord Tenant Act, it's just rental. It's not a homeless anything. They might have a program there, but if there's a lease, then we got laws that covered that. So we narrowed it down to the shelters and the day shelters. And got- and to the transitional housing that didn't have a lease. Sometimes there are apartments wehre people are allowed to live, but they don't have a lease, but they have a behavior thing-


AD: An agreement or something.

CH: -but there not covered by the Uniformed Residential Landlord Tenant Act. So we narrowed it down and we actually used something called -- its where if you -- it isn't zoned automatically unless you meet these extra criteria. But it isn't a conditional use, then it's up to somebody to say yes, no, we don't care. It was you can be here, permitted use if you're this, which everyone has to be, and you do these extras you can be in this zoning. So we actually increased the zoning for shelters. I know I go on, I'm sorry.


AD: No, that's fine. I just want to mention it's a little bit afield I just always think of that as an example of the zoning coming in, and protected classes coming in NIMBYism --

CH: Well, they had a fair housing complaint against the city, I mean boom.

AD: Yeah -- I want to ask some sort of bigger picture questions. The first I think you sort of mentioned a little bit, but do you have a sense that fair housing discrimination in Louisville is getting better, is getting worse? What would you, you know, here in 2012, what would you say about the state of that?

CH: I would say I don't really know because there hasn't been enough housing circulating to figure it out. There is this one side of people who want their 71:00old America back and don't realize how much we are changing. 85,000 internationals in our city, the way out city grows in population, which is considered a good thing, for -- it's considered a good thing to grow comes from people who are international. I use international because I'm not getting into documented and undocumented, it's just internationals. We are aging so the place where people have young kids are a lot of people in protected classes. And I think we're gonna to see that population shift a lot. We're also gonna to see more people because of the aging be disabled and looking for housing. Now age is not a protected class for housing. But disability is so we're going to see that more.


What I really see is the whole city has just people with less money. That is what I really see, there is more poverty in the suburbs, everyone -- I mean both adjusted for inflation and actual we have less money. So affordable housing is now being used in a way for worker housing. We tried that before and no one bought it, but it seems people are getting it more and more because utility costs have gone up and they will continue to go up. Because of environmental surcharges, there are a lot of extra costs to utilities not just the generation 73:00of the power that goes into it. And incomes are down and the price of the loaf of bread adjusted for inflation has gone up more than people's income. I like to use that.

AD: Mmhmm.

CH: So, I think affordable housing is something people are willing to hear. The other thing in business in the industry associated with housing is we're not building single family houses, "bim bam boom." And in that stratification of, "gee we are going to build the mall of $450,000 because honestly we don't want the trash who can only afford $275,000 to live here". That stratification and that number doesn't exist but the homebuilders are much more willing to talk about multi-family, talk about smaller developments, talk about rehab. On the 74:00other hand, we have seen the effect of the mortgage foreclosure by the vacancy rate in traditional African American urban neighborhoods. And we also see that we have ended this trend of in the census of households getting smaller and smaller because everyone in the household goes out and lives on their own. People are doubled up. The vacancy isn't because people moved to Arizona, it's because they moved in with their family in Shively.

AD: Mmhmm.

CH: So we actually have changed that trend which was a decade long trend towards smaller -- I'm not saying it went up $1million but we ended a trend and it went up slightly. That's huge when you talk about a census.


So people are doubled up and they can't afford and we have these cratered neighborhoods of huge loss, and I'm very interested actually -- I've got a little testy and the Attorney General's office has been reacting since then 'cause I was saying we've got these monies that the Attorney General worked very hard to get on the fraud, mortgage fraud, and making sure that enough money comes to Louisville because it's very clear that African American households were way disproportionally affected. In the state of KY when you look at the numbers, Louisville is where there is a -- compared to the rest of KY this is where African Americans live. So, making sure that money comes here. I know I'm going all over the place, but the thing is, it's a brand new paradigm-

AD: Mmhmm.

CH: -of what are housing issues.


So to me, tax liens are now a housing issue. And the tax liens affect the rehabilitation of these crater gap communities, because people -- investors, private investors have bought tax liens with the rights and authority as if they were government and none of the responsibility of the government to see a thriving neighborhood and those are going to be impediments to renovation and rebuilding neighborhoods. I'm very concerned; I think those things will emerge. I also think that when different companies buy the tax liens, even if that 77:00company has a policy where everybody is treated the same, you could have people living together one company another company and have unequal treatment. Which government at least has to treat you -- have some policies of treating people the same. So I thing tax liens are going to emerge. I think the tax liens are in African American neighborhoods, they are not always purchased there, but a lot are purchased there and that is going to really be an impediment to revitalization.

I guess I'm saying there are some credit scores, I think I've seen new problems that really concern me. And ways that we will not even know. I also thing that the wiping out of African American wealth that occurred in these last five 78:00years, we haven't seen the effect yet. Mostly because we are all in this pickle, but I think racially it will become much more evident that people aren't able to afford college for their kids or be able to buy homes again. I think we'll see a sharp decrease in home ownership for African Americans far exceeding the decrease for white Americans. I'm not really sure how it will affect women, female heads of households. I can't think it will be good. [Laughs] We don't have -- 4%, we say 4% is Hispanic, so still far too low a number to really judge 79:00what's happening here. For me, for me, I'm not going to go out on the limb over something where I don't really understand what's happening yet. -- So there you go.

AD: In one- in another interview --

CH: Can I just finish?

AD: Please.

CH: There's one thing is, unless we change the zoning laws we're only going to get more of what we got.

AD: Right.

CH: I just see an openness towards the zoning laws because other industries are hurting, so they may be more flexible.

AD: In one of the other interviews for this project, the person that I was interviewing was talking about how really at the end of the day, that the issue of fair housing is really a moral issue -- for us as citizens of this country. 80:00But you know definitely as members of this community in that, this person said specifically "Cathy Hinko and her people at MHC has done amazing work over the years and have come up with these greats reports and have had different strategies and through all of those strategies of being very intentional about being evidence based". Despite that great work, you have people who are basically indifferent.

CH: Right. Oh yeah.

AD: People that don't care. So we were sort of talking about this argument of, which I want to ask you about other things, you mentioned some. Actionable steps that you think the city and decision makers can take to sort of lessen these impediments to fair housing. But what do you -- what do you say when you hear 81:00this idea that you can't incentivize people to care, you can show people graphs and charts, but there are people who are just indifferent.

CH: I think if it's presented as a moral issue that's what we'll get. That's why like even with the YIMBY campaign. We said, "let's not present it as a moral issue, we've done that, or even a legal issue, we've done that. Let's represent it as it's in your best interest to be accepting of diversity. Because that's the way you are going to keep your neighborhood vital." That was a very in- I'm not saying the campaign was much of anything, we didn't get it launched very much. But that was the intent of the message, which was, you care about your neighborhood and that's a good thing. But guess what is going to happen to your neighborhood if you don't open up for diverse housing types and then consequently diverse households? And I think that's a message, like I'm saying 82:00right now the homebuilders are friends of ours. The homebuilders were not friends. And the homebuilders will be the first to say, "yeah Cathy with all her reports and how much zoning did she change -- you know, compared to us." And they're right, so I think there's a moment where we can change some things, although I do see other impediments coming down the track. I do think if we present it as a moral issue -- like what is it in economics -- you know it's not a zero, Game Theory. It's not a zero- sum game. It's not as if I have 7 you have 83:003 and you have 6, I have 4. We can all win and we can all lose and right now we're all losing. Which kind of puts us in a boat together to make people more open to -- remedies but this whole idea that we can't all win. We can all win! If we see it as a community as a whole. So I have to say that the moral issue hasn't worked, entirely. I'm not saying it's not a critical part. But I'm saying it's time to present it as people's own self-interest. Because it isn't just race, it's disability, you're kid getting out of high school or college. It's where's your mom going to live when you want to take care of here. Where are the 84:00workers going to work in my little store, how do they get here. Because we're all poorer and we're all on a lot thinner ice than we used to be. So that's how I -- think the messaging has to go out.

AD: We've talked I guess throughout this interview about different, you've identified some areas that you think that, where things need to change and I wanted to ask you to share some ideas about housing initiatives that you think that are maybe in effect somewhere else in the country that are positive. Some things that might be going into effect in some various stage of development here in Louisville that could be positive.

CH: Well right now it's all about the money, so we brought in this speaker, Dan 85:00Kilty a year ago and we're working hard with this coalition called LOKL, Local Options for Kentucky Liens. To redo the ways we do these private liens. This is a new problem that private people taking tax liens. But we are now seeing the effects of it, so we want to change it. We also want to change the land bank authority so that we can get properties into the land bank and title cleared. So that we really can go to neighborhoods that have been cratered out and do some things there because there is a certain correlation between not paying tax liens and this vacancy. It is a useful tool, it's not a 100% correlation at all, but it's enough to be a really useful tool. So that is something we are really promoting. It involves -- that we do not sell our tax liens, we finance them 86:00ourselves while we collect. The reason we know it works first of all because other places have been doing it for more than a decade. And second of all guess why private investors buy them? Its money we're leaving on the table.

We also think that if we make the tax foreclosure process more regularized, it will become more fair for everybody. And then if we make the land bank have more authority like especially to cleanse a title, then we will be able to reuse land. So that's a huge thing we are working on. Another thing is the affordable housing trust fund. We actually have identified our funding source and so we 87:00want money to come here. The other thing that MHC is doing, is we are partnering with Jewish Family and Career Services to start a CD- Community Development Finance Institution that will focus from MHC's part solely on housing and from JFCF's part, solely on micro business lending. Not small business lending, micro business lending. That has been a real deficit in our city. We really do not have large scale plans on micro lending for businesses. And haven't for ever -- ever had that. I think it's always been a failure for instance as we redo HOPE VI over and over that -- you know.

We have never seen so many families on the waiting list for subsidy. So we know we need to create more housing that is affordable and is affordable to working 88:00people. I think that demand is an opportunity. Those numbers are staggering. The home builders, you know, like I said, and the realtors are hurting. They are more open to doing things. So we have some opportunity there. The rise of sustainability as a movement I think offers some opportunity to support density. Which is smaller lot sizes and multi-family. So there is a lot of congruence there. We need to do more, there was a stimulus program for this, but the money 89:00is over. Energy efficient rehab of current housing. Energy prices are just going up. And so like MHC was an intervener and will be once again. There's actually a rate case filed by LG&E and I found the one piece of paper that sort of sums up what they said which is, 'We want more money!' No even like, really have a real reason [laughs].They just want more.

AD: We all do. [laughs]

CH: We've intervened in these cases to try to keep the costs from going up too much and to get focus on energy efficient rehab. So those are some of the things that are happening. The mayor announces vacant property thing. Very nice with the little amount of money and the little amount of power that he has. I'm a big admirer of, "you do what you can with what you got while you're working on the bigger issues." We want to see that commitment by the mayor on the bigger issue; 90:00otherwise this is a teeny weeny program. There are -- we finally have a condo law that helps protect condo owners in the state. So that's good. So there's some good things, we you know -- there's lots of stuff other people are doing we would want to do. There is a subcommittee of the council focused on vacant properties and how to -- and again the funding, how do you fund it. One of the suggestions in a tax increment financing. We're trying to work on lots on different levels. But it's scary. And we're not -- the places where the worst happened.

AD: Right.

CH: Right. We then we have our roadmap. In 2010, we did a roadmap so we have a lot of suggestions in there.


AD: (We already talked about that--) Is there anything that you want to talk about or to say that you haven't had a chance too?

CH: Yes, I just want to focus a little on public housing and the change in public housing units which is dis-invested in the lowest income households. And left, I think left people homeless and not done enough for households that are disabled. And that's written up in our 2009 -- we looked at the numbers. As we do HOPE VI replacement, we get private funding in tax credits. It's just raining- that's the way it sounds. We get tax credits in -- tax credits are privately owned. They have a different focus and a different standard on what 92:00they want the outcome of their investment to be in government. So we see higher economic standards to get into public housing. Not just behavioral. I mean, it's a little harder to defend behavioral higher standards. But here are higher economic standards to get into public housing which to me is insanity! Which means the lowest income people -- and it's all families. It isn't the elderly. There is the same number of elderly units or more. It is family units that we have really lost and that's very disturbing to me. I think it makes homeless children. We aren't replacing all of the units we've torn down, family units. We keep adding elderly -- in fact they favor elderly units over units for people 93:00with disabilities who are not elderly. And in fact they have to define elderly as 55 because they can't fill their units otherwise that are designated for elderly. So I think that's a real fair housing problem. And we've presented it to them. But I think it's a real fair housing problem. I think families with children, I mean, I'm talking about familial status not about race that you just say, not so interested in them and really not so interested in them if they are poor.

AD: I guess, how does it work when -- I mean of course, for various reasons, the economy and other reasons, nationally and I'm sure here locally here as well, but I don't know the numbers on this we are seeing so many more grandparents who are raising grandchildren.

CH: That's a drug issue.


AD: Right. So how does that work as far as, you know, if there is a person who's seeking housing that is an elderly person raising young children?

CH: Well you assume grandparents are elderly.

AD: This is true [laughing].

CH: Grandparents are 48.

AD: This is true.

CH: I think there needs to, there need to be different supports for people who are older and have responsibility for making multiple families, blended families. It's quite a problem, I don't deny it. I think we need larger units, more bedrooms. I think we need again, more family units and low income family units. The lowest income because you know a lot of those households are poor, 95:00well they are poorer than if they didn't have the kids in that household. That's definitely true. It's the same income but the same people so their standard of living -- so yeah. I think it's a big issue. I think all together we need some units with larger bedrooms as we get more internationals, as there's family configurations, as there's doubling up. They may ebb after a while, but I think we need to see the family sizes changing. And I think that's more a social services support than an actual housing. It just adds to the number of households that need affordable housing.

AD: Right. Is there more you want to say about that or anything else you want to mention that we haven't talked about.

CH: Nope. I think I covered it.

AD: Well thank you so much.

CH: Alright!