Fayette Homeless Count Doubles

LEXINGTON, KY -- A recent survey shows the number of people who sleep on Lexington's streets more than doubled in a year, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Saturday edition.

But that doesn't mean there's a bigger problem, said David Christiansen, executive director of the Central Kentucky Housing and Homeless Initiative, which conducted the survey Jan. 24 in Lexington and recently released results. Volunteers probably got a more accurate number because of a change in the way the homeless count is conducted, reports the Herald-Leader.

And the actual number of homeless people in Lexington may still be even higher. There were 96 people found this year, compared to 46 found a year ago, who live on Lexington streets, the survey showed.

The survey also counted 472 at emergency shelters and 770 in transitional housing programs, reports the newspaper.

In the past, volunteers visited places where homeless people were known to congregate, counting heads and collecting anecdotes, to obtain the number of people living on the street. But volunteers this year distributed surveys at shelters, places where meals are served and other places where people congregate, including outside the Central Library and a bus depot.

In past homeless counts, volunteers found makeshift camps but no people. The survey helped them avoid that situation by going directly to groups and asking people to take the survey. Incentives, including McDonald's gift certificates donated by a local owner, were given to encourage participation, the newspaper reports.

"They were generally receptive to the completing the survey," said Janice James, deputy director of the Hope Center, who chaired the homeless count, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

Copyright: The Lexington Herald-Leader

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