Code for Kentuckiana had our first meeting on March 9, 2019, and it was a great success.

We started the day off with Kehontas Rowe introducing Code for Kentuckiana and its mission, followed by a round of introductions by attendees. We were fortunate to have attendees from a variety of backgrounds, including, but not limited to, social work, law, accounting, software development, IT, housing policy, health policy, urban planning, and more. This is a great mix of background and talents, and we firmly believe that solving big issues requires people from a wide range of backgrounds coming together to work on solving them together. Kehontas also spoke with WAVE 3 about CFK.

A picture of meeting attendees. Photo by Dawn Howard

Following introductions, CFK steering committee members and partners discussed the projects and skill share sessions we had planned for the day and asked the community if they had any projects ideas that they thought CFK should work on.

Coffee provided by Heine Brothers

Pat Smith discussing his R and QGIS skill share session. Photo by Michael Schnuerle

We then broke up into individual groups to work on projects and skill sharing.

Pat Smith led a skill share on data manipulation and working with geographic data, focusing on the R and QGIS software packages.

Bret Walker led a skill share on open records requests. The group talked about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Kentucky Open Records Act (KORA) and how they dictate what records are considered open and how to request them. They also looked at Muckrock, an online tool for submitting and managing open records requests, and discussed several completed open records requests from the site. The presentation can be found here.

Michael Schnuerle, Louisville’s Data Officer, led a group discussion about the city’s open data portal and open data in general.

A group of Code for Kentuckiana volunteers discusses our renters' rights app. Photo by Chris Harrell

Loren Hill organized and led a discussion around our renters’ rights project, technical assistance was provided by Kehontas. Partners from Kentucky Equal Justice Center, Metropolitan Housing Coalition, and Louisville Metro Housing Authority participated in discussions about the needs of renters and problems they face. We discussed the challenge of renters losing their deposits upon lease termination and the tools/information that could prevent this problem. Ultimately, we plan to create a full-service portal for directing renters to capture and track important information at every stage of tenancy. The app would also connect renters to information about their rights and generate documents and letters. Other possible functionalities of this app include making and tracking maintenance requests, tracking eviction rates of landlords, and helping tenants report rent to credit bureaus to assist in building credit. A good portion of the discussion was focused on the accessibility of this app for people of varying technology experience.

Kehontas Rowe brainstorms ideas for our renters' rights app. Photo by Michael Schnuerle

If you weren’t able to attend this initial meeting, please join our Meetup list and follow us on social media so that you can find out about our next meeting and the projects we’re working on!