Metro Council approves over half a million dollars to go towards homeless relief

Metro Council finalizes $550k for homeless relief efforts

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Thursday night, the Louisville Metro Council discussed two items regarding the homeless crisis in the city.

First up was a resolution stopping any Louisville Metro agency from shutting down homeless camps and displacing the residents until it gets warmer in the spring. That died because of a lack of sponsorship.

It would have only allowed the camps to be shut down in an emergency, like health and safety risks, because the frigid temperatures are a risk to health and safety of the homeless.

The second resolution passed unanimously. That measure gives $546,000 from last year’s surplus budget to provide more services for those sleeping on the streets.

The surplus will be directed to the city office of Resilience and Community Services to come up with a plan by Jan. 2. That plan has to spell out how it will get people off the streets, and what agencies the city will partner with.

The Coalition for the Homeless is one of the agencies submitting proposals. Executive Director Natalie Harris spoke before the council and said she has also signed up with the University of Louisville to do an extensive study that will get to the bottom of the problem and how to find permanent solutions.

This resolution also requires the mayor to have a permanent plan by the April 25 budget presentation.

The funds will be ready to use by Jan. 14.

Short-term, the money will provide more beds and storage lockers. But the long-term goal is to expand the number of beds in existing shelters, and create a low-barrier shelter. Those shelters have fewer rules, and won’t turn away the homeless for drug use or having pets.

Councilman Bill Hollander (D-District 9) said the budget committee decided to use the surplus, only meant for rainy days, because this crisis is a “rainy day.”

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