WFPL News and the Coalition for the Homeless hosted a mayoral forum on May 10.
The discussion, focusing on solutions for members of our community who are unhoused, housing equity and affordable housing, will be moderated by Clare Roth, WFPL editor. She’ll be joined by panelist Yasmine Jumaa, WFPL race and equity reporter.
The mayoral candidates who participated included Timothy Findley Jr., Skylar Graudick, Craig Greenberg, Colin J. Hardin, Philip O. Molestina and Shameka Parrish-Wright.
Hear from more candidates
Republican candidates Rob Stark Reishman, Jr. and Chartrael Hall met all of the qualifications for this forum, but were unable to attend in person. We spoke with them the day after the event and posed the exact same questions to them that the candidates who attended the forum in person answered. You can watch Reishman’s and Hall’s responses to each individual question below.
Each candidate was given 1 minute to deliver an opening statement.
Before COVID-19, Louisville’s eviction rate was twice the national average. Mid-pandemic housing measures, like the federal eviction freeze and rent relief funding, helped lower the eviction rate in the last two years. But those measures have either ended or are expiring soon.
What’s your plan to avoid the eviction tsunami that housing researchers and advocates have been warning about?
Louisville has a severe shortage of affordable housing for residents who make $20,000 per year or less. To fill the gap, the city needs more than 31,000 units. That’s estimated to cost more than $3.5 billion to develop.
What’s your plan to tackle this great need?
Will you work to incentivize the creation of housing that is actually affordable for low income residents? If so, how?
Black Louisvillians face eviction at disproportionately higher rates. The city’s support and funding for new developments in historically Black and low-income neighborhoods risks displacement for long-time residents. While some of these developments offer a number of subsidized units — they’re far fewer than the total number of affordable units lost.
How would you ensure people don’t get priced out of their neighborhoods as you work to increase available housing in the city?
This is a lightning round question, please answer with a simple yes or no. Community land trusts preserve agency, provide residents oversight over proposed changes in their neighborhoods and keep housing affordable. While they can combat the effects of gentrification, they don’t generate individual wealth for residents or pave the way for their financial self-sufficiency. Do you support them, yes or no?
Both candidates answered “no.”
This comes directly from our partner in tonight’s forum — the Coalition for the Homeless and their partner organizations. According to the agency’s research, homelessness in Louisville has increased 41% over the past three years. Yet, systemic barriers and shelter restrictions bar and deter people from getting off the streets.
What measures would you propose to meet the needs of people living in encampments? And how would your approach to encampments be similar to or different from Mayor Greg Fischer’s?
Each candidate was given 1 minute to deliver a closing statement.