LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Neighbors of an illegal halfway house showed up in court Monday to try to get it shut down.
The Kristy Love Foundation has been operating illegally on Date Street for more than two years.
The foundation claims to help women who are suffering from addiction, prostitution, and human trafficking. But, that’s not what neighbor Dino Johnson and others say is going on.
“When she first came on the street, we welcomed her in,” said Johnson, who lives right next door. “(But) I have seen her kick out numerous women back out on the streets. She wouldn’t give them their property.”
“(There have been) many allegations and complaints from neighbors, way too many police runs, fights in the front yard, people living there re-victimized again, forced to do things they shouldn’t have to do in order to pay to live there,” Metro Council President David James said.
But Imani Baxter, who owns the property, denies those allegations.
“Absolutely not in our house,” he said.
In addition to owning the property, Baxter is connected to the organization, and was in court Monday because he’s accused of violating a zoning ordinance.
“The mere fact that we are trying to help people and that there is so much energy to try to defeat us, taking women who are facing drug addiction, and human trafficking, sex issues, to railroad them out baffles me,” Baxter said.
Baxter was given a deadline to move out of the house by Feb. 18. He said the foundation has been trying to find other suitable housing, adding that he’s concerned the women they serve would be back out on the streets if they leave.
But, despite being denied a permit to operate, they’ve continued to do so.
“It’s an illegal boarding house, transitional house, operating in a residential neighborhood,” James said.
Weeks after being denied a conditional use permit by the city, a WAVE 3 Troubleshooter undercover video showed it was still operating. People living on Date Street said they are hopeful, since it’s now in the court system, that something will change.
“These cases normally don’t make it to court,” Johnson said. “If you stick together, you can make a change.”
Baxter said he’ll have an attorney when he’s expected back in court on Feb. 18. If he’s not out of that property by then, the case will go to trial on March 24.