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.

 

Passport Partners with Bluegrass Harvest to Bring Fresh Produce to Lexington Residents

Passport Health Plan has signed on with Bluegrass Harvest, a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program administered by Community Ventures, to sponsor weekly deliveries of locally grown produce for low-income residents of Lexington’s East End community.

The program, which is expected to benefit up to 70 families, will include 20 weekly boxes of freshly harvested fruits and vegetables from local farms this spring and summer. In addition, the CSA box recipients will have access to additional health and wellness-oriented events throughout the five-month program, including cooking demonstrations, exercise classes, food tastings, meet-the-farmer events and more, said Sandy Noble Canon, president of Bluegrass local food initiatives for Community Ventures.

The program is aimed at not only improving access to healthy food, but also encouraging healthy behaviors that can lower health costs and improve outcomes while at the same time supporting local farmers.

“If you think about ways to improve health and quality of life, there’s only so much that going to the doctor can do,” said Michael Rabkin, communications director for Passport Health Plan. “We know that food directly impacts someone’s health, whether it’s losing weight or preventing diabetes or lowering someone’s heart rate.”

For more information on Bluegrass Harvest, please click here. For more information about this partnership, please click here.

 

Passport Offers Providers Two chances for Buprenorphine Waiver Trainings

Passport Health Plan is inviting providers in the network to attend an upcoming buprenorphine waiver training sessions from the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort.

The American Society of Addiction Management (ASAM) Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder Course covers all medications and treatments for opioid use disorder, and provides the required education needed to obtain the waiver to prescribe buprenorphine.

Two 8-hour classes – combining 4 hours of online learning followed by 4 hours of live learning – will be offered:

  • In Lexington on Saturday, February 24, from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Bluegrass.org Board Room, Building #2, 1351 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40511. To register for this event, please click here.
  • In Hazard on Saturday, March 10, from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the ARH Regional Medical Center, Joe Craft Tower Conference Room, 100 Medical Center Drive, Hazard, KY 41701. To register for this event, please click here.

If you have any questions about these trainings, you may email education@ASAM.org or call (301) 656-3920.

 

Passport joins with ADA to present ‘Super Saturday’ event in Lexington

ADA-passport-logoPassport and the American Diabetes Association are presenting a special event on Saturday, November 18, in Lexington for residents to come out and learn all about eating better and moving more.

The “Super Saturday” event, which runs from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and will be at the William Wells Brown Community Center at 548 E. Sixth St. in Lexington, is open to the public and will have information for people with diabetes, people with prediabetes, and people who want to help minimize their risk for getting diabetes.

The event will have speakers to provide education and motivation, opportunities for attendees to participate in chair exercises, and a good sampling of healthy food options. There will also be vendors to visit and an opportunity for a free kidney screening, courtesy of the National Kidney Foundation.

To register for the event, please go online to diabetes.org/supersaturday or call (859) 268-9129.

 

Passport and American Diabetes Association encourage all Kentuckians to take part in Diabetes Alert Day

ADA-passport-logoAre you at risk for developing diabetes? The American Diabetes Association and Passport Health Plan are asking all Kentuckians to take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test in honor of all the Association’s annual Alert Day set for Tuesday, March 28, 2017.

Alert Day is a day to sound the alarm about the prevalence of type 2 diabetes across Kentucky and our country.

Companies and/or organizations interested in participating in Alert Day can download the complete e-toolkit by visiting WellLivesHere.org.

The following locations in Lexington will have screenings on Alert Day, March 28, from 10 am to 2 pm:

  • Walmart – 4051 Nicholasville Road
  • Walmart North Park Marketplace – 500 New Circle Road

Paper type 2 diabetes risk tests and other diabetes materials will also be available on Alert Day from 10 am to 2 pm at the following locations:

  • Walmart- 112 Osbourne Way, Georgetown
  • Walmart- 2350 Grey Lag Way, Lexington

The following locations in Louisville will have screenings on Alert Day from 9 am to 2 pm:

  • Neighborhood Place Ujima – 3610 Bohne Ave.
  • Neighborhood Place Charmoli – 200 Juneau Drive, Suite 200
  • Neighborhood Place3 South Central – 4255 Hazelwood Ave.
  • Neighborhood Place South Jefferson/Fairdale – 1000 Neighborhood Place
  • Family Health Centers Portland – 2215 Portland Ave.

For more information, please click here.

 

Passport brings “Super Saturday” event to Lexington for people to help fight diabetes and live healthier lives

ADA-passport-logoPassport Health Plan is proud to sponsor the American Diabetes Association’s “Super Saturday” event on November 19 in Lexington.

During the free event, which takes place from 10 a.m. to noon at William Wells Brown Community Center in Lexington, attendees can learn about ways to control their diabetes, get recipes and samples of some healthy food options, get some great fitness tips, pick up some fun giveaways, and meet former University of Kentucky and NFL star Derrick Ramsey.

To learn more or to register, please go online to www.diabetes.org/supersaturday or call (859) 268-9129.

 

Passport bringing Health and Resource Fair to Lexington on October 15

lex chip logoPassport Health Plan and the Lexington Community Health Improvement Plan (LEX-CHIP) are co-sponsoring a Health and Resource Fair on Saturday, October 15 in Lexington.

The event, which will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., will take place at Consolidated Baptist Church, 1625 Russell Cave Road, in Lexington. It is free of charge and no registration is required.

There will be a number of different vendors at the Health and Resource Fair, offering health screenings and educational information about resources that are available in the community to help people live healthier lives.

There will also be door prizes, entertainment, refreshments, and much more!

Hepatitis takes center stage during annual conference in Lexington and town-hall meeting in Hazard later this month

Soar logoKentucky, which leads the nation in hepatitis C infections, will have its third annual hepatitis conference July 26 in Lexington, followed by a Hepatitis C Town Hall Meeting in Hazard on July 28, World Hepatitis Day.

The first meeting, “Hepatitis: Breaking the Silence,” is hosted by the Kentucky Rural Health Association, the state Department for Public Health’s Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Program, and the Kentucky Immunization Program, according to Kentucky Health News. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26, at the Embassy Suites in Lexington and will offer continuing education credits for medical professionals. Click here to register and view the draft agenda.

The conference will also look at screening strategies in children and infants, an update on syringe-exchange programs, diagnosis and treatment, barriers to treatment, using telehealth to treat hepatitis in primary care settings, and regional data on addiction and treatment.

“The Kentucky Rural Health Association has fast become the premier organization to educational outreach throughout Kentucky and some nationally,” KRHA Executive Director Tina McCormick said in an e-mail to KHN. “We will have attendees from other states at this year’s conference, which spreads the word across state lines.”

Then, on Thursday, July 28, the state Department for Public Health is partnering with Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) to host a Hepatitis C Town Hall Meeting at  Hazard Community and Technical College.

“The meeting aims to increase community awareness, provide best practices on prevention, detection and treatment of Hepatitis C, HIV and substance abuse and engage multi-sector community, state and national stakeholders to organize resources and enhance engagement,” says a news release.

This meeting is free and open to the public, though registration is required because space is limited. Click here to register.

 

FDA expands “Real Cost” campaign about smokeless tobacco to focus on rural white male teenagers

real talk graphicThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a new campaign on the dangers of smokeless tobacco among rural teens, expanding its “The Real Cost” campaign “to educate rural, white male teenagers about the negative health consequences associated with smokeless tobacco use.”

The FDA’s Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study found that 31.84 percent of rural, white males ages 12 to 17 — about 629,000 total youths — either experiment with smokeless tobacco or are at-risk.

The central message in “The Real Cost” Smokeless Tobacco Prevention Campaign is “smokeless doesn’t mean harmless,” which aims to motivate these teenagers to reconsider what they think they know about smokeless tobacco use.

“For the first time, messages on the dangers of smokeless tobacco use — including nicotine addiction, gum disease, tooth loss, and multiple kinds of cancer — are being highlighted through the placement of advertisements in 35 U.S. markets specifically selected to reach the campaign’s target audience,” according to a news release from the FDA.

“The Real Cost” campaign launched nationally in February 2014 across multiple media platforms including TV, radio, print, digital, and out-of-home sites. It currently airs in 35 markets, including Lexington and Paducah in Kentucky.