New Direction tenants union protest ‘unlivable’ conditions
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - On Tuesday morning, members of the New Direction Tenant Union advocated for better housing conditions.
Tenants in the Russell neighborhood apartments described their living situations as “unlivable.” Some residents cite bug infestations, mold, structural damage and lack of support from the management group, New Direction Housing Corporation, as an alleged violation of renter’s rights.
“We have been ignored,” Jasmine Harris, founder of New Directions Tennant Union said. “They treat us like a joke. We are not joking. Our homes and families are put in jeopardy because they are not doing their jobs with maintenance. It is our duty that we can live in safe conditions.”
Members of the union and supporters marched from Sheppard Park to the New Direction offices. They presented the management group a fair lease agreement, which addresses most residents’ concerns including unclean water and lack of maintenance support.
According to New Direction Housing Corporation, their leases are developed and regulated by United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Following the protest, the company released this statement saying in part:
“We have also supported residents’ efforts to create a representative council, the right for tenants to organize, and we fully support fair and equal treatment of all tenants.
New Directions utilizes leases developed and required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which are applied equally to all residents living in New Directions properties.”
Supporters of Tuesday’s protest included Councilman Jecorey Arthur.
According to Arthur, Metro Council wants the CEO of New Directions to come before them to discuss the housing conditions on their properties.
“What we struggle with at the local level is we don’t have control over tenants’ rights,” Arthur said. “That is a state law issue. We have been trying to send resolutions official statements from the council working with the tenant’s union. Whether that be rent control or fair leases, we are standing with them making the state aware people should not be living like this.”
Arthur said a bill sponsored by himself and five other council members would change the Louisville Metro rental registry ordinance. Under the bill, which is still in committee, Codes and Regulations make proactive compliance checks
The CEO of New Directions is scheduled to appear before the Community Affairs, Housing, Health, and Education Committee on Wednesday, December 7, Arthur said.
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