Louisville Metro Government is continuing it’s commitment to addressing the needs of the homeless in our city. On Friday, September 6, Mayor Greg Fischer announced that $1 million from the city’s FY20 operating budget will be dedicated to continuing the work started in 2019.
In collaboration with the Coalition for the Homeless, the city will back initiatives that align with the eight recommendations outlined in the University of Louisville study, “Solving Street Homelessness in Louisville, Kentucky,” released in June. You can read the full report at https://louhomeless.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Solving-Street-Homelessness-in-Louisville.pdf.
“Louisville, like many American cities, has seen a rise in unsheltered homelessness in recent years and an increase in homeless encampments. We’ve made clear progress but there’s more work to do to ensure that every Louisvillian has a place to call home,” said Mayor Fischer said, adding that, “There is no one-size-fits-all solution. We have to help our homeless population deal with and overcome their challenges one person at a time. That’s what a compassionate city does.”
St. Vincent de Paul Louisville will receive funds to support low-barrier shelter beds at Ozanam Inn Men’s Shelter.
“It is indeed good news, given the Metro Budget constraints due to the pension crisis among other funding challenges. The move towards a lower barrier shelter environment will allow us to address some of the identified needs of the street homeless population. The Metro Louisville funding will help defray the additional costs of case management, mental health counseling and shelter operating expenses,” said Ed Wnorowski, Executive Director/CEO at St. Vincent de Paul Louisville.
In the fall of 2017, Mayor Fischer created the Homeless Encampment Task Force, chaired by Eric Friedlander, director of the Office of Resilience and Community Services. The success of the participating agencies informed the task forces decisions about future funding allocations.
“We know that no one idea will address the multiple issues impacting people who are homeless, nor the complex needs of this diverse population,” said Friedlander. “That’s why I am so appreciative of the work, expertise and understanding of our partners, including organizations that are part of the coalition, and the street outreach groups that engage people where they are. Working together, we’ve shown we can make a difference.”
Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith (District 4) said, “Our local government is focused on implementing common sense solutions for the complex challenges surrounding those experiencing homelessness. I have stated several times before, there is room for everyone to step up and help. In addition to the more than $1.5 million made available during this past year we still need more businesses, nonprofit organizations, healthcare, education and the interfaith communities to reimagine their roles and create common sense solutions that will produce real results for real people needing assistance because this is our reality.”
Metro Councilman Bill Hollander (District 9) said, “This funding builds on the work we started in January. It provides shelter for men, women and families and also funds outreach workers who can help address the root causes of homelessness. Even as Louisville Metro deals with a very difficult budget, we can’t ignore the needs of our neighbors experiencing homelessness.”
“The funding from the Louisville Metro Resilience and Community Services (LMRCS) will support our effort to get more people off of the street and into safe, affordable housing. We’re grateful to the Mayor, Eric Friedlander and his team at LMRCS, the Coalition for the Homeless and Louisville Metro Council for making this happen. In addition to the financial support, we are excited to be part of the effort to develop and evaluate best practices for ending homelessness. With the support of the University of Louisville and all of the other amazing service providers that are part of this effort, we will save lives and develop a better system for getting people off of the streets and into permanent housings,” said Jennifer Clark, Director of Programs at St. Vincent de Paul Louisville.