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Advocate

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Sign up for our advocacy alerts for the 2020 legislative session and more by filling out the form here.

Our Vision

A critical part of the Coalition’s mission is to end homelessness through advocacy.

We believe everyone deserves a safe place to call home, and we envision a city where everyone can afford that: a city where no one has to live or die on our streets. Will you join us in advocating for this vision?

Together, we can develop, support, and pass good policy that improves the lives of people who experience housing instability.

  • To learn more, read about our priorities, goals, and the 2020 legislative session below.
  • To join us for our February 4 day of action, click here.

2020 Advocacy Priorities

In 2020, the Coalition for the Homeless is focusing our efforts on these four areas, which we believe can make a strong impact on improving the lives of people who are poor or experiencing homelessness in a short period of time.

  • Mental health counseling for unaccompanied youth (HB 213). The Coalition SUPPORTS House Bill 213, which would allow any qualified mental health professional to provide outpatient mental health counseling to any child who is age 16 or older and is an unaccompanied or homeless youth.
  • Criminalization of apartment disputes (SB 11). The Coalition OPPOSES Senate Bill 11, which would criminalize any damages that a landlord claims a tenant has caused in a rental property, with the potential for felony charges. Such damage is already illegal as a civil matter. This is unnecessary legislation that would have potentially life-long negative impacts for a tenant. 
  • Immigration status enforcement bill (SB 1). The Coalition OPPOSES Senate Bill 1, the immigration status enforcement bill, which could add an unnecessary and time-consuming barrier requiring agencies to confirm immigration status prior to providing life-saving services to people experiencing homelessness. Agencies that serve people experiencing homelessness, including those escaping abuse at home, do not need yet another hurdle before they can serve the most vulnerable people in our community. We should not put agencies in the position to choose between their funding and carrying out their mission to serve.
  • State Affordable Housing Tax Credit (bill not yet filed). The Coalition SUPPORTS this state-level bill, which is modeled after the federal affordable housing tax credit. Credits could be given in both rural and urban areas to build new construction or to preserve and rehabilitate existing affordable housing within a five-year time period. Credits could also be used to build affordable housing for special populations, such as seniors, substance abuse recovery renters, veterans, minors aging out of foster care, and people experiencing homelessness.
  • ID Cards and Drivers Licenses. We aim to explore whether we can make progress regarding drivers licenses for people staying at shelters, and we also want to track issues around how the REAL ID will impact people experiencing homelessness.
  • Youth Homeless Prevention Act (bill not yet filed). This state-level act would create a grant pool for service providers to apply to, distributed by the Kentucky Interagency on Homelessness. Revenue would be generated through a percentage of licensing fees.
  • Expansion of Fair Housing Protections. On a city-level, the Coalition SUPPORTS a proposed ordinance at Louisville Metro Council that would expand fair housing protected classes to include source of income, past convictions, homeless status, and veterans.

2020 Advocacy Goals

Our advocacy goals are issues and initiatives that we care about, but which require a longer time period to achieve a goal. The Coalition intends to join other groups in working toward these goals, as well as to participate in strategy and planning sessions; host education events; and speaking to our members, community partners, and elected officials about these goals.

  • HB 39 and SB 13: Raising minimum wage. These state-level bills propose the increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2027.
  • Funding the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. We will continue to work with our partners to advocate for more and dedicated funding to the trust fund to provide affordable housing opportunities for Louisvillians.
  • Oppose criminalizing homelessness. We stay committed to working in opposition to bills and ordinances that target the homeless with punitive fines.
  • Eviction reform. Louisville’s eviction rate is twice the national average. Reducing evictions helps to reduce homelessness. We are focusing these efforts on intervention, eviction court reform, and getting better information to people before they get an eviction on their records.
  • Tax lien work. We aim to reform how we treat late property taxes to ensure that people can stay in their homes and not pay huge late fees.

2020 Legislative Session

Below are additional legislative initiatives that we support past our focused priorities. We encourage the sharing of information, posts on social media, attending of events, and signing letters of support.

  • SB 34: Prohibit Medicaid from charging copays on services. We support this bill, which would prohibit the Department of Medicaid Services from instituting or leaping copay or other cost sharing requirements.
  • HB 119: Restoration of voting rights. We support this bill, which would pass a Constitutional amendment to restore to returning citizens that have paid their debt to society.
  • HB 123: Paid sick time. We support this bill, which would require employers to provide earned paid sick leave to employees.
  • HB 153: Mental health first aid. We support this bill, which would create a trust fund to pay for mental health first aid.
  • HB 161: Increase the felony theft threshold. We support this bill, which would increase the threshold for felony theft from $500 to $1500.
  • HB 176: Paid parental leave. We support this bill, which would require employers with 50 or more employees to provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave for an employee who has been employed for at least one year.
  • HB 179: Surprise medical billing. We support this bill, which would require insurers to pay for out-of-network providers to prevent consumers from surprise billing when they have chosen an in-network facility.
  • HB 213: Mental health counseling for unaccompanied youth. We support this bill, which would allow any qualified mental health professional to provide outpatient mental health counseling to any child who is age 16 or older and is an unaccompanied or homeless youth.
  • HB 222: Automatic expungement. We support this bill, which would allow for the automatic expungement of misdemeanors and certain class D felonies.
  • State Earned Income Tax Credit. We support this bill, which would create a state earned income tax credit that can be claimed by people who earn income through work. A state EITC would build upon the success of the federal EITC.
  • Child care assistance (KYA). We support this bill, which would increase state funding for child care assistance to improve access to affordable, high-quality care that allows parents to work, children to thrive, and local economies to grow.
  • Restrict prior authorization for MAT services. We support this bill, which would prohibit MCOs or insurers from instituting prior authorization requirements on the provision of medication assisted Treatment services for those with opioid addiction.
  • Juvenile justice.
    • HB 203: Establish a minimum age of Jurisdiction. Currently Kentucky has no age of criminal responsibility. We support this bill, which would establish a minimum age of jurisdiction that could connect that child with family confused services and recent the child from entering the juvenile justice system.
    • SB 87: Eliminating the automatic transfer to adult court. We support this bill.

Get Involved

There are many ways you can get involved and advocate for the needs of our poor and homeless neighbors. 

First and foremost, please call the legislative line at 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message for your elected officials. When you call this line, you are not speaking with an elected official, but with a person who will take the message and pass it on.

The message can be quick and to the point, such as: “I urge you to support HB 213. I believe that we need to create more opportunities for young people to get access to mental health counseling.

  • You can follow Kentucky legislative issues and the bills we’ve identified above through bill watch online.
  • Contact your Metro Council Representative about the importance of affordable housing and supportive services for people who are poor and experiencing homelessness at www.louisvilleky.gov/metrocouncil.
  • To get updates from the Coalition for the Homeless, including new advocacy issues needing local support, fill out this form to join our enewsletter list.

Questions? Want to get more involved? Email George Eklund, Director of Education & Advocacy, or call him at (502) 636-9550 x1219.