A team of scholars and graduate students at the University of Louisville has completed an analysis of the local housing market as part of a 20-year plan to provide fair housing for everyone.
The document, Analysis of Housing Challenges, was released Dec. 18 by the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission (LMHRC) during a news conference at the Louisville Urban League. The commission is leading the initiative with research support from UofL’s Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research and the Center for Environmental Policy and Management. The Metropolitan Housing Coalition is also part of the effort.
Catherine Fosl, who heads the Braden Institute, said the analysis was deemed a key action step as the LMHRC works to build a climate of nondiscriminatory housing practices. The study examined various neighborhoods and provided detailed demographic profiles.
“We created seven focus groups to glean information from those most affected by housing barriers,” said Fosl. “The resulting study provides a snapshot of the local housing market. It also takes a look at where people in protected classes live, the challenges they face and what type of home or community is most appealing to them.”
Sociology professor Lauren Heberle, who heads the Center for Environmental Policy and Management, was lead investigator for the analysis. Heberle and Fosl together presented their findings during the LMHRC news conference.
Heberle said the report revealed that the path to fair housing has many nuances—affordability and discrimination are only part of the story.
“We found that folks really like where they live but would like to see improvements,” she said. “The idea of moving is not necessarily their first inclination; instead they were interested in things like good infrastructure, safety, access to school and work and functional sidewalks.”
The analysis is one of the first action steps taken from the LMHRC’s 2014 report, “Making Louisville Home for Us All: A 20-year Action Plan for Fair Housing.”
Fosl, who is the principal editor and author of that report, called the fair housing program “an important long-term commitment by government business leaders and ordinary citizens to transform fair housing in Louisville.”
The fair housing initiative is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.