How Louisville's housing authority went from hundreds of evictions to zero

Date Published: 
July 28th, 2021

From the Louisville Courier Journal:

Wearing a mask and disposable gloves, Makeeba Edmund approached an apartment door and looked for the best place to leave her card.

On it was her contact information and title: eviction prevention specialist for the Louisville Metro Housing Authority.

Edmund hoped the tenant inside would call. 

If they did, she could help them figure out how to get caught up on rent or even how to temporarily reduce their payments.

She could connect them with rent assistance, if they qualify, and let them know "the housing authority is here for you. You're not in this alone."

For hundreds of public housing residents, that hasn't always been the case.

The housing authority — which manages 3,000 federally subsidized units citywide — has long operated as a typical landlord, regularly filing evictions against tenants who failed to pay rent or violated their leases, executive director Lisa Osanka said.

In 2019 alone, the authority filed evictions against more than 700 tenants, with judges ruling against 478 renters, according to a Courier Journal analysis of court records. 

In the first two months of 2020, the housing authority was on track to again file hundreds of evictions against tenants. But since the coronavirus pandemic began last March, the authority has enacted several eviction-prevention measures, including creating Edmund's position, paying one month of rent for all tenants and partnering with the Legal Aid Society to hold mediation sessions with people who've violated their leases.

Over the past 12 months, the authority hasn't filed a single eviction.

"We have thrown everything at this," said Osanka, who's led LMHA since 2018. "... We've tried to not be part of the eviction problem. Whereas in other times, before the pandemic, we have behaved more like a landlord."

Read the Louisville Courier Journal's article "How Louisville's housing authority went from hundreds of evictions to zero." 

Resource type(s): 

Sorry, this content is only available to members.

If you're a member of CLPHA, please click here to log in.

If you have not created your account, it’s easy to create one. Click here for step-by-step instructions.

You can also click here to watch a webinar site tour that shows CLPHA members how to create website accounts for themselves and provides an overview of the site's functionality.

Otherwise, we invite you to learn more about the many benefits of CLPHA membership.