‘I will probably leave:’ Neighbors voice frustrations to Lexington Rescue Mission over plans for new facility

It was a heated meeting Monday evening with neighbors in Lexington’s Northside neighborhood.
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 10:50 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It was a heated meeting Monday evening with neighbors in Lexington’s Northside neighborhood.

They questioned the Lexington Rescue Mission and its plans to relocate their main office and outreach to the area at the corner of Jefferson and W. Second streets near downtown.

It was the first time many neighbors had the chance to question LRM about their plans. Many of them did not hold back their thoughts.

“Why would you not talk to us if you wanna be part of our community?” one neighbor asked.

“I will probably leave because I have lived it,” said a neighbor who says she moved to Lexington from Los Angeles because of growing issues with the homeless population there. “I’m not speculating, I’m not paranoid. I know what happens and the concerns are valid.”

The forum hosted by the Northside Neighborhood Association came a week after an initial meeting among neighbors after they heard about the plans.

There was another meeting Thursday with neighbors, but LRM says they were not invited to that one.

“We’re not at the end stage, we’re in the planning stages, said Laura Carr, the executive director of LRM. “We want to be able to take the feedback into account as we plan for the future, as we look at the services we’re providing, and how we execute these services.”

Carr says the new location would feed the homeless and offer outreach. She said it will not offer overnight accommodations. She adds a good portion of their clients are not even homeless, but are at the poverty line.

“When you look at this particular neighborhood, the census tract, it’s 36.7 percent. So more than a third of the people in this neighborhood are living in poverty.”

Neighbors say they were about litter, safety, and loitering. Carr says she is committed to working with the neighborhood.

The building the mission bought is under proper zoning for what they plan to do in the space, and there’s not really anything neighbors can do to stop them from moving in from their Glen Arvin Ave location.

Carr said at the meeting she, or someone with the mission, will regularly attend neighborhood association meetings and be part of a committee to quickly address concerns or issues as they come up.

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