LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Council will vote on how to fill the $65 million budget shortfall Thursday, which could impact several community programs, including The Living Room.
The Living Room is a safe space where adults in crisis are connected with resources they need.
Co-founder Kimberly Brothers said she was shocked to hear they may lose funding.
“We’ve done a lot of strong work,” Brothers said. “We’ve seen 2,500 guests since the doors opened. Our diversion rates are exactly as we had promised. We’re a three minute drop off time for LMPD so we save that time for them where they would normally have to check someone in to the jail or get cleared through their emergency room. We know we are saving hours upon hours of police time. We believe we’re doing a great community service for individuals.”
The program welcomes anyone in crisis 24/7, no matter their situation.
“People can ring our doorbell anytime day or night and come in,” Brothers said.
The Living Room offers peer support and refers people to resources and programs that would help them.
“Just this week alone we’ve had people call our hotline who have said ‘I’ve been thinking about wanting to harm myself. I really don’t want to harm myself but I don’t know what to do and I heard I don’t have to go to the hospital,'" Brothers said. "So we will actually transport people. We bring them here.”
The program started as a demo in December 2017, partnering with LMPD to help keep people out of jail and away from emergency rooms or inpatient hospitalizations.
In November 2018, the Living Room opened to the public with funding help from Louisville metro government.
Since opening to the public, Brothers said they have seen a 300% increase, seeing 401 guests in February compared to the average 120 guests.
“Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes a lot of touches sometimes and trust building,” Brothers said. “The Living Room is a place where they can start to rebuild [trust] and get connected to services.”
Mayor Greg Fischer first proposed massive budget cuts and then created a second plan to increase taxes, including an insurance premium tax.
Metro Council members have come up with alternative plans since then that would include both budget cuts and an increase in revenue.
Metro Council meets Thursday at 6 p.m., when they will vote on the plan.