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Louisville residents in public housing raise alarm over contract landlord

Metro Housing Authority

Residents of some Louisville Metro Housing Authority properties have joined a tenants union to once again call for better living conditions and action against a landlord they say is abusive. 

The CT Group, which is headquartered in Maryland, oversees much of Louisville’s public housing stock and Section 8 properties. The company is responsible for things like maintenance and communicating with residents. But, people living in CT Group-managed buildings say that’s not the case. 

Residents of LMHA and housing advocates recently formed the Louisville Tenants Union to raise concerns over alleged mistreatment at the hands of the property management company. The union recently shared city records with WFPL News that show residents filed 85 complaints between January of 2020 and March 2022. Many of them named CT Group’s regional manager Kathy Strom and alleged verbal abuse and neglect.

The company oversees properties including the Sheppard Square apartments in Smoketown. A resident there, Richard Faulkner said Strom responded to requests for help by raising her voice.  

“She thinks she can treat people any way she wants to,” Faulkner said. “During a meeting, I had to stop her from screaming at me, I explained to her…‘you don’t get to talk to me like that.’ And her response was, ‘Yes, I can.’”

Complaints against the CT Group date back to at least 2017. They document disrepair across buildings the company manages, abysmal living conditions, as well as mold,rodent and pest infestations

Dominique Harris, one of Strom’s tenants, said that’s left her family with unstable housing.

“She has had us separated for over a year. We have lived in mold, I have been sick more than once,” Harris said. “My cabinets are infested with roaches. My refrigerator barely works, and it's infested with roaches. It's not just me.” 

Last fall, WFPL visited the complex where Harris lives and spoke to other neighbors who reported worsening health as a result of their deteriorating living conditions. 

Harris said public housing officials know the extent of tenants’ issues with Strom and the CT Group, but has yet to see any disciplinary action against the company and its local property manager. She added, so long as Strom is around, the fear of losing housing will continue looming over her. 

“They know I am not financially stable right now to move to help myself. [Strom’s] not going to contact us. She's gonna keep sitting where she's sitting and doing what she's doing and denying us of our tenant rights,” Harris said. “This lady has evicted me, but she hasn't put me out of my apartment legally because she knows I haven’t done anything wrong. She has had my mail turned off.”

Documents that the Louisville Tenants Union obtained include consistent correspondence between LMHA’s ombudsman and Strom about her ignoring residents’ calls for maintenance and failing to adequately communicate with them. 

Tenants are demanding that the public housing authority terminate Strom or sever its contract with the CT Group. 

In response to previous reporting about tenant claims, LMHA said privacy laws prevent the agency from commenting on specific reports. While officials did not respond to WFPL before deadline, they sent WDRB a statement that read, in part “we take the concerns of the 14,000 families that we serve, seriously, and vow to investigate the alleged complaints that are reported to LMHA by its residents."

This article has been updated to include information on the Louisville Tenants Union that residents of LMHA and housing advocates formed this month. 
Yasmine Jumaa is LPM’s race and equity reporter. Email Yasmine at yjumaa@lpm.org.