Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together
Citizens of Louisville Organized & United Together (CLOUT) is an organization of religious congregations and groups which are working together to solve critical community problems. We are not a service provider, but a grassroots, direct action, multi-issue organization, which has come together to be a powerful force for improving the quality of life in our community.
Since CLOUT’s beginning in 1991, the organization has brought people together from different religious denominations, different areas of the community, and different races to work together on issues of common concern. These are just a few of the community improvements resulting from CLOUT’s work since its beginning:
In 2017, CLOUT got Louisville Metro Council to allocate $9.6 million to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund; the previous year’s allocation of $2.5 million had funded 326 homes. CLOUT has been fighting for affordable housing since winning the creation of the Trust Fund in 2008, and is continuing to work for dedicated funding for the Trust Fund going forward.
In 2017, after two Nehemiah Actions addressing public transit access to the 115 businesses and 7000 jobs at the Riverport Industrial Park, officials from TARC (the local public transit agency) and Metro Government won a federal grant for a $3.2 million circulator bus to help workers get and keep good-paying jobs.
In 2017, in the first year of CLOUT’s campaign to win care, not jail, for people with mental illness and addiction, CLOUT got Louisville Metro Council to allocate $325,000 for a “Living Room” crisis stabilization center in Louisville, and got judges and prosecutors to get additional training in referrals to Drug Court.
In 2016, after a six-year campaign which also won the creation of a district-wide bullying prevention training program, CLOUT won a commitment from Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) to begin district-wide whole-school Restorative Practices, plugging the “school-to-prison pipeline;” addressing racial disproportionality; and reducing suspension rates, referrals to alternative schools, and drop-outs. As of June 2017, four schools have received whole-school training, fourteen will receive the training in the coming school year, and 24 JCPS staff have been trained as certified Restorative Practices trainers.
In 2014, as a result of CLOUT taking on the issue, the Louisville Metro Council voted unanimously (26-0) to “Ban the Box,” making it illegal for local government, and vendors and contractors who do business with the city, to inquire about a person’s criminal record on an initial job application. Louisville is just the 16th city in the US to adopt such a policy, which opens up job opportunities for ex-offenders and ensures that people aren’t punished twice for mistakes made long ago.
In 2010, officials with the JCPS and the local juvenile court committed to implement “restorative justice” approaches for dealing with youth crime and violence, in order to address the “school to prison pipeline.” The resulting program in the juvenile court, called “Restorative Justice Louisville,” uses “family group conferencing” to deal with select juvenile court cases that hold the offender more accountable, allow for restitution, and avoid incarceration. Also, at CLOUT’s request, County Attorney Mike O’Connell committed to discontinue the practice of referring all school-related offenses directly to court without the opportunity of diversion.
“We have a lot of residents in our community, but not enough citizens. Your work is direct evidence of what real citizenship can do. I applaud your work.”
– Jerry Abramson / former Mayor of Louisville, KY –
In 2009, state and local officials committed to work toward a cap on interest rates for payday loans, which currently charge rates upwards of 400% APR. CLOUT got Kentucky’s attorney general to hold three public hearings across the state on the problem in fall 2010. Those hearings resulted in a unanimous recommendation by the state’s Consumer Advisory Council that a rate cap of 36% be passed in the 2011 legislative session. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass during that session but each year since then it has received more support, CLOUT has assisted in the development of the Kentucky Coalition for Responsible Lending, a diverse coalition of over 60 organizations across the state who support a rate cap, and the coalition’s work is continuing to see that reasonable regulations are passed.
Also in 2009, CLOUT got Louisville’s mayor and local banks & credit unions to agree to develop an initiative to reach out to the 29,000 unbanked households in the Louisville area by providing more affordable & accessible products and services. Since summer of 2010, when “Bank On Louisville” was launched, with 16 financial institutions participating, over 16,000 persons have opened new accounts, with an average balance of $853 and with 91% of the accounts remaining open.
In 2008, state and local health officials committed to remove barriers to the enrollment of uninsured children in the Medicaid and Kentucky Child Health Insurance Program (KCHIP), with Gov. Beshear eventually committing to enroll 35,000 more, with a total state/federal commitment of $112 million, over the following two years. As the result of these changes, over time an additional 60,000 children were enrolled in KCHIP.
In 2007, commitments from state and local officials made changes that have helped stop the “revolving door” of the criminal justice system, including: (then) Ky. Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Lambert doubled the size of the Drug Court program and to provide more training for judges; (then) Ky. Dept. of Corrections Commissioner John Rees created a new training program in drug & alcohol addiction issues for all Probation & Parole staff statewide; and (then) Mayor Jerry Abramson established a new drug treatment program in our local jail.
The Family Health Centers hired more bilingual interpreters, translated key documents into Spanish, and had all 270 employees participate in cultural competency training, resulting in improved access to health care for the growing Hispanic/Latino community.
The Housing Authority of Louisville committed to replace one-for-one the 728 public housing units that are being demolished for the redevelopment of the Clarksdale Housing Development, meaning that Louisville will not lose any badly needed affordable housing units.
JCPS implemented the Direct Instruction (DI) reading curriculum in several struggling elementary schools; the result is that thousands of more kids are reading at or above grade level.
JCPS developed a program of supervised suspensions, so students on suspension would not be out in the community during the school day getting into trouble and falling further behind on their schoolwork.
TARC installed 6 bus shelters up and down Dixie Highway where there were none, so that people no longer have to stand out in the rain and snow to wait for a bus.
Presently, 21 congregations and groups with over 16,000 individual members are members of CLOUT. We come from all parts of the Louisville Metro area, and we represent a diverse mix of persons by race, economic class, and religious traditions.
Board of Directors
- Co-President – Karen Williams, Centennial Olivet Baptist Church
- Co-President – Jimmy Mills, Mosaic United Methodist Church
- Vice-President – Chris Kolb, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
- Treasurer – Evelyn Clark, Bethel Baptist Church
- Recording Secretary – Beverly Duncan, Jeff Street Baptist Community
- Corresponding Secretary – Mike Kolb, St. John Paul II Catholic Church
- Barbara Lee, Third Lutheran Church
- Courtland Rose, Fourth Ave. United Methodist Church
- Elissa Hill, St. Edward Catholic Church
- Hugh Ella Robinson, Westwood Presbyterian Church
- Jane Buckley, First Unitarian Church
- Jane Gilliam, Mosaic United Methodist Church
- Jim Monin, Christ Church Cathedral
- John Bates, St. Edward Catholic Church
- Joyce Voss, Epiphany Catholic Church
- Mildred Franks, Christ Church Cathedral
- Min. Theresa Hazard, Bethel Baptist Church
- Rev. Carl Liggin, St. Paul A.M.E. Church
- Rev. Denise Guillian, Lampton Baptist Church
- Rev. Reginald Barnes, Brown Memorial CME Church
- Yvonne Lovell, Magazine St. Seventh-Day Adventist Church
1113 S. 4th St. Suite 350
Louisville, KY 40203