A Racial Equity Audit of Louisville, Kentucky’s Code Enforcement Program

Final Memo of the VPLI Local Implementation Scholarship Program

Author(s): Center for Community Progress

In February 2022, local leaders from Louisville Metro Government (LMG) attended the 2021-22 Vacant Property Leadership Institute (VPLI) in Austin, Texas, hosted by the Center for Community Progress in partnership with the National League of Cities, along with delegations from twelve other U.S. cities. LMG was one of three delegations competitively selected to receive up to 100 hours of customized technical assistance from Community Progress to implement focused and practical reform efforts based on new knowledge gleaned from their participation in VPLI through the VPLI Local Implementation Scholarship program.

LMG chose to focus its technical assistance on (i) reviewing its housing and building code enforcement process through the lens of racial equity, and (ii) examining how to apply a strategic and equitable approach to code enforcement to its vacant, abandoned, and deteriorating properties (VAD). Community Progress worked with LMG to review its current code enforcement processes and craft a one-day workshop aimed at helping code enforcement staff identify potential areas for reform and building broader support for such reforms within LMG.

This memo summarizes the outcomes of the scholarship and recommendations for further reforms. It provides a brief overview of Community Progress’ understanding of LMG’s existing code enforcement and collections process, based on a review of its ordinances, standard operating procedures, and conversations with LMG staff. The memo then summarizes key observations and recommendations generated by LMG staff at the June 28, 2022 workshop. The memo concludes with Community Progress’ key observations about LMG’s code enforcement process and recommendations for reform.

Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO

Published: September 2022

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