Reducing homelessness in Lexington will in large part depend on the availability of affordable housing. That’s one direction a special government commission seems to be taking. The Mayor’s Commission on Homelessness has produced a draft report. Co-Chair Steve Kay says affordable housing will be key component of the final report. “If we can do a better job of providing adequate housing for those people, we can significantly reduce the numbers of people who are homeless and the number of people who are going to find themselves in a homeless situation. Housing is one of the key parts of what we will be addressing,” said Kay.
Kay says the needs of homeless Kentuckians are diverse and the commission wants to offer a variety of remedies.
Lexington has already spent a lot of money on affordable housing. Over the last seven years, council member Kevin Stinnett says some 37 million dollars, much from the federal level, has been spent. Stinnett says what’s also needed is more information on the number of people who receive assistance but then return to the streets.
“One big area of concern in this community and I’ve not found one organization that has done it adequately, but is follow up on the experience of re-occurrence. Because once we get someone in a home, how long do they stay in a home and are the same people coming back through the system,” added Stinnett.
The Lexington organization BUILD, which stands for ‘Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct Action, has long lobbied Lexington for an affordable housing trust fund. The fund would finance low-interest loans for home buyers. Pastor Adam Jones says it could help a lot of his people.
“It’s my constituents, my congregation, 50 percent of our congregation is looking for housing, especially with the job market being a little more difficult these days,” said Jones.
An affordable house trust fund goes back before the council this winter and it could make a decision sometime this spring. As for the Mayor’s Commission on Homelessness, its recommendations are due out in January.