Homelessness Around Greater Lexington Declines to Lowest Level in 12 years

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Lexington has reached its lowest level since at least 2005, according to a new report from the city.

“We’ve still got work to do, but we’re making progress,” Mayor Jim Gray said in a news release. “Our work and investments are beginning to pay off.”

In 2005, 882 people were found to be homeless in Lexington during the annual complete count exercise. This number continued to trend upward, reaching its peak in both 2011 and 2014, with over 1,500 homeless on any given night in Lexington. Results from the 2018 count show that 685 people slept on the streets, in an emergency shelter or in transitional housing on the night of January 24.

“Today is a moment to pause and recognize our progress, celebrate what has worked, and assess the great challenges that still lie ahead,” added Polly Ruddick, Director of the Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention (Passport partners with the Office to help improve the health and quality of life of all Kentuckians). “Every night there are still about 700 people in our community with no place to call home, and many hundreds more on the margins, fighting to stay off the streets. Our work continues until everyone in Lexington has access to opportunities, support services, and safe, decent, affordable housing.”

In addition to the overall numbers, Lexington is also seeing improvements in:

  • The number of veterans who are homeless. In 2014, 203 homeless veterans were reported on the night of the count; this year only 92 veterans were found to be homeless, a difference of 54.6%.
  • The number of people who are chronically homeless. In 2014, 186 individuals were reported to have been living on the streets or in an emergency shelter for longer than a year, as compared to 92 people this year.

“Permanent housing is now the priority. And it’s working – we have significantly fewer people sleeping on the street,” Gray said.

The annual homeless count is conducted each January, and is required for communities receiving federal homeless funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Teams of volunteers visit outdoor sites where people experiencing homelessness have been known to congregate, while shelters and housing programs report their occupancy. This year, 18 teams canvassed over 100 locations throughout Lexington and Fayette County.

 

Lexington Housing Authority will reopen the waiting list for Section 8 housing from March 26 to 30

The Lexington Housing Authority (LHA) announced recently that it will open the waiting list for the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program March 26-30. This is the first time the waiting list has been open since 2015, according to LHA.

LHA will accept pre-applications online only from 12 a.m., Monday, March 26 to 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 30.

For instructions on how to apply for the waiting list, people need to go online to https://lexington.apply4housing.com or www.lexha.org. Applicants can apply from anywhere with internet access. For people without internet access, computer access will be available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 26-30 at the LHA Central Office, 300 West New Circle Road, Lexington, and at LHA satellite offices. People can also visit one of the LHA community partner sites to apply; a full list of community partners can be found at www.lexha.org.

To apply, people will need the following:

  • Name, Date of Birth, and Social Security Number for ALL members of the household
  • Current Mailing Address
  • Information about the total annual household income: Income includes wages, unemployment benefits, Social Security, Social Security Disability Supplemental Income (SSI), retirement and pension payments, KTAP, child support, self-employment, temporary agency employment. Any money or resource that is coming into the household from an outside source is income.

Accommodations for disabled or non-English-speaking residents will be made available upon advance request by calling (859) 281-5060. People with hearing or speech impairments can receive assistance by contacting the LHA by dialing 711 to reach the Kentucky Telephone Relay Service.

 

Life expectancy around Kentucky can vary by up to 9 years, depending on county of residence

Life Expectancy GraphicAccording to a new study, while the average life expectancy for someone in Kentucky is 76 years, the actual time could vary by up to nine years, depending on where the person lives.

“Health differences between communities are rarely due to a single cause,” researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said in a press release.

According to an article in Kentucky Health News, life expectancy is driven by a complex web of factors that influence health: opportunities for education and jobs, safe and affordable housing, availability of nutritious food and places for physical activity, and access to health care, child care and social services.

“The health differences shown in these maps aren’t unique to one area. We see them in big cities, small towns, and rural areas across America,” said Derek Chapman, the VCU center’s associate director for research.

For Kentucky, the highest life expectancy is mostly grouped around the cities of Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, Bardstown, Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Bowling Green. Meanwhile, the lowest life expectancy rates are seen in the Southeast region of the state, with Perry, Breathitt and Wolfe counties coming in at just 70 years.

For more on the study, please click here.

 

Supportive housing saves money and improves health outcomes for those with mental illness, according to Passport-funded study

iHOP_logoEstablished in 1982, Wellspring has long believed that supportive housing is the key for many people with severe and persistent mental illness to begin re-building their lives. Currently, the agency provides permanent supportive housing to about 200 adults with severe and persistent mental illness annually and is on pace to serve nearly 500 people in our psychiatric crisis units this year.

Thanks to a special Improved Health Outcomes Program (iHOP) grant funded by Passport, Wellspring was able to assess the impacts of supportive housing for adults with severe and/or persistent mental illness. The study took close to two years to complete, largely because of the challenges associated with collecting data across service systems. But the results were very promising.

According to an article in Medical News, Wellspring found that in the one-year span prior to entering permanent supportive housing, the aggregate cost of inpatient care for clients at Kentucky One was more than $2.5 million, but in the following year, that dropped more than 52 percent to $1.2 million. Emergency room costs also decreased ($1.6 million to $780,000) and outpatient care went up (38 percent). For more information, please click here.

Wellspring promotes mental health recovery for adults with severe and persistent mental illness by providing quality housing and rehabilitative services for nearly 700 clients annually. As a private, non-profit agency, Wellspring operates two Crisis Stabilization services and several Supported Housing programs in addition to affordable housing options around Greater Louisville. For more information, please click here.

Passport’s Board of Directors sets aside funds each year for research and development of programs that “improve quality, access, efficiency and cost of healthcare” for Medicaid recipients. For more information about iHOP – including ways you can apply and frequently asked questions – please click here.