Faced with expulsion? Hope for man deported while in hospital

FOCUS explains what progress has taken place just one day after our survey was released.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Housing experts we interviewed estimate that about 2 in 10 renters in Louisville are at risk of eviction. But they say there is no way of knowing exactly how many evictions are occurring.

This is because some of them are illegal or outside the court system.

A man from our area showed us how he had been affected by the eviction. And although 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 stolen,” Cortez Simpson, a former Louisville tenant, said when FOCUS investigative reporter Paula Vasan interviewed him last month.

“Well, I felt really bad for him. I felt moved, ”said Stewart Pope, lawyer for the Legal Aid Society.

Pope watched our eviction investigation.

“I think it had an impact and showed the plight of so many tenants,” he said.

He overheard Cortez Simpson, 71, tell us he had been in the hospital for about a month. When he got home he said his owner had locked him out.

“Everything outside in the dumpster,” Simpson said. “Oh, that hurts.”

Now Pope plans to help.

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

Our investigation also shed light on legislation proposed by Kentucky lawmaker Nima Kulkarni.

“It is a very urgent and desperate situation for many families,” Kulkarni said.

If passed, its legislation would prohibit landlords from disposing of their tenants ‘belongings without giving at least two weeks’ notice. She also wants to put limits on how long a deportation can stay on someone’s file. Right now in Kentucky, if you have a deportation on your record, it’s there forever, even though the case was dismissed.

“It’s terrifying,” Kulkarni said.

“It is,” Simpson said.

Pope said he hopes the Simpson story will help advance legislation that minimizes the damage caused by the eviction.

“When that educates people, it inspires people to take action and I hope that will happen,” Pope said.

There are millions of dollars in federal funding to prevent evictions in the wake of the pandemic. If you’re having trouble paying your rent, or you’re a landlord who doesn’t pay renters’ rents, 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:

  • Request online help
  • Speak with your landlord and request additional time in your home while your request is processed
  • Attend your eviction hearing
  • Ask the judge for overtime at your home while your request is being processed
  • Consult legal aid
  • If you are evicted, relief programs may be able to help you relocate

RESOURCES

►Do you have a tip for the story? Contact the FOCUS survey team at [email protected]

►Contact journalist Paula Vasan at [email protected] on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

RELATED: ‘He Closed the Door’: Louisville Man Says He Was Deported While In Hospital

RELATED: Identity Verification Required to Apply for Unemployment Benefits in Kentucky. Here’s why and here’s how

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