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Hope in sight for Louisville man evicted while in hospital

FOCUS explains what progress has taken place just one day after our investigation aired.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Housing experts we interviewed estimate about 2 in 10 renters in Louisville are at risk of eviction. But they say there’s no way of knowing exactly how many evictions are happening. 

It’s because some of them are illegal, or outside of the court system

One man in our area showed us how he’s been impacted by eviction. And while it left him hopeless, his family told us over the phone that as a result of our investigation, he now has hope. 

“My everything was snatched," said Cortez Simpson, a former Louisville tenant, when FOCUS investigative reporter Paula Vasan interviewed him last month.

“Well, I felt really bad for him. I felt moved," said Stewart Pope, a Legal Aid Society attorney.

Pope watched our eviction investigation

“I think it was impactful and showed the plight of so many tenants," he said. 

He heard 71-year-old Cortez Simpson tell us he had been in the hospital for about a month. When he came home, he said his landlord locked him out.

"Everything outside in the dumpster," said Simpson. "Oh, it hurts.”

Now, Pope plans to help. 

“We will represent him in court, we should be able to get the eviction dismissed," said Pope. 

Our investigation also highlighted legislation proposed by Kentucky lawmaker Nima Kulkarni. 

“It’s a very urgent and desperate situation for a lot of families," said Kulkarni. 

If passed, her legislation would prohibit landlords from discarding their tenant’s belongings without giving at least two weeks notice. She also wants to enforce limits on how long an eviction can stay on someone’s record. Right now in Kentucky, if you have an eviction on your record, it’s there forever, even if the case was dismissed. 

“It’s terrifying," said Kulkarni.  

“It is," said Simpson. 

Pope said he hopes Simpson’s story helps advance legislation that minimizes the harm of eviction. 

“When it raises awareness, then that inspires people to take action and hopefully that will happen," said Pope. 

There are millions of dollars in federal funding to prevent eviction, as a result of the pandemic. If you’re having trouble paying your rent, or if you’re a landlord missing payments from tenants, housing experts say you can call the Legal Aid Society at 502-584-1254. 

Tips for those facing eviction, according to the Kentucky Housing Corporation:

  • Apply for assistance online
  • Speak with your landlord and ask for additional time in your home while your application is processed
  • Attend your eviction hearing
  • Ask the judge for additional time in your home while your application is processed
  • Consult Legal Aid
  • If you are evicted, the relief programs may be able to help you relocate

RESOURCES

►Have a story tip? Contact the FOCUS Investigative team at FOCUS@whas11.com

►Contact reporter Paula Vasan at pvasan@whas11.com on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

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