Louisville Metro Council to vote on homeless help

Metro Council to vote on solution to city's homeless crisis

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - At Thursday night’s Metro Council meeting, council members will vote to put more than a half million dollars toward homeless relief.

Homeless camps were cleared on Wednesday but city officials said it’s critical to make more beds available now.

The issue is expected to pass.

The budget committee already recommended spending last year’s surplus money. District Nine Metro Councilman Bill Hollander is among those pushing the ordinance.

“I think people know there’s a real crisis," Hollander said.

If Louisville residents didn’t know about the crisis before, the clean-up of a few homeless camps downtown may have made it crystal clear.

“We have more homeless people on the streets than we have shelter beds,” Hollander said.

With cold weather in full-swing the issue has become urgent. Hollander wants to find a permanent solution, similar to other cities that use low barrier shelters. So, what does that mean exactly?

There are rules - just not as many.

“They would allow someone to come in, as long as they are behaving themselves and not hurting themselves,” he explained. “But they would allow someone to come in who is intoxicated or high.”

Metro Council members will make a decision on how to help the city's homeless after camps were wiped away.
Metro Council members will make a decision on how to help the city's homeless after camps were wiped away. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Other examples of people welcomed at low barrier shelters are people won’t go to a regular shelter because they can’t bring their pets or their belongings.

“We are not talking about opening up new facilities without any supervision or services or security that certainly will not happen," Hollander said.

Under the ordinance, more than $546,000 in the surplus would be directed to the city office of Resilience and Community Services to come up with a plan by January 2, spelling out how the money will be spent to get people off the streets and what agencies the city will partner with. It also asks for a permanent plan by Mayor Fischer’s April 25 budget presentation.

Hollander said a number of partners and churches are stepping up to help. Because people are reluctant to leave their belongings, the St. John’s Center for Homeless Men is working with the city on a proposal for storage solutions.

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