Advocates announce results of Lexington homeless count

Advocates announce results of Lexington homeless count
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 5:03 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - On August 30, three central Kentucky housing organizations sponsored an in-depth Lexington homeless survey.

The purpose was to get a better understanding of the city’s current unsheltered condition.

The survey counted people living in camps, cars, couch surfers, jail and other living conditions.

They announced the results at a press conference held inside the Northside Library on Tuesday morning.

The count found that 2,410 people throughout the city are experiencing homelessness.

That includes more than 700 people in recovery programs, more than 400 considered “unsheltered” and more than 400 living in shelters.

One statistic from the count that is gaining attention is the growing number of unhoused Fayette County students.

T. C. Johnson is the director of the FCPS Mckinney-Vento program, a federal program that assists the needs of homeless children.

“Since August, we have registered 453 students who have been enrolled as displaced,” said Johnson.

Unless trends change, Johnson predicts the number of homeless children in Fayette County will eventually be greater than last school year’s number of 953 unhoused students.

Fourth-grader Grayson Daniels took the mic to advocate for other classmates who are homeless.

“I’m asking for the city government to set aside 100% of their budget surplus to create affordable housing and affordable housing for kids and their families who are without homes,” Grayson said.

Advocates say action steps include securing funding for another shelter.

The city conducted its own homeless count in January. It located 816 people without a home.

Mayor Linda Gorton released a statement on Tuesday about the count:

There really is no direct comparison between these two counts of people who are homeless. The Catholic Action Center count used different definitions of homelessness, and different methods in taking the count than the City uses with LexCount each year. However, no one disputes that there are people experiencing homelessness in Lexington, and that is a challenge, no matter the number. Our city invests millions of dollars each year on shelters and programs for those in need of housing, an investment that continues to increase – the city expects to operate a temporary facility this winter to provide additional shelter, and will soon provide funds for New Life Day Center to expand its operating hours. We spend millions more on the development and preservation of affordable housing. We opened a new complex today that added 250 new affordable apartments, and there’s more to come. We are deeply committed to working with all partners, including the schools, on tackling this issue, and appreciate the volunteers who share our commitment to this cause.