Louisville public housing residents protest conditions: ‘Nobody’s coming to help us’
Residents of some Louisville Metro Housing Authority properties confronted the agency’s board on Tuesday, speaking about longstanding abysmal living conditions and alleged discrimination at the hands of a city-contracted property management company.
The CT Group, which is headquartered in Maryland, oversees much of Louisville’s public housing stock and Section 8 apartments. That means they’re responsible for things like corresponding with residents, maintaining the properties and ensuring safe and clean housing.
Resident Dominique Harris lives in a CT Group-managed apartment complex in east Louisville. She told members of the housing authority’s Board of Commissioners that units there are in disrepair and overcome with black mold. She also highlighted residents’ conflicts with the company’s Regional Property Manager, Kathy Strom.
“I've been sick more than once. I'm not safe. I'm not healthy,” Harris said. “Everybody that lives in my apartment complex is dying. They're sick, they live in mold… nobody's coming to help us. Miss Kathy does not care about us.”
Harris said Strom often ignores requests for help, but sometimes responds with threats of eviction. Harris added that she reached out to LMHA Director Lisa Osanka for help, but her calls went unanswered.
“We are victims of discrimination and inhumane circumstances and we are stressed, depressed and emotionally oppressed,” Harris said. “[Strom] treats us like animals. We're not animals, we’re humans, and we have rights as people. And we're not being heard.”
Richard Faulkner lives at the Sheppard Square apartments in Smoketown — another CT Group property. He said Strom has repeatedly raised her voice at him.
“Public housing is run in these places like an institution and not an apartment building. And that needs to change because we are people just like you guys are and you wouldn't put up with being spoken to like that,” he said.
With the backing of housing advocates and other residents of CT Group-managed properties, Faulkner urged the board to fire Strom, saying she is “nothing but a problem.” Board members did not react to his and Harris’ comments, which were made during the meeting’s public comment period.A spokesperson for the housing authority, Jelisa Chatman, said privacy laws prevent the agency from commenting on specific reports.