LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Advocacy Center of the Family & Children's Place likely will be spared the nine percent state-funding cuts many agencies will face in the two upcoming budget years. But its clients are among the most vulnerable Kentuckians.
More than 1,300 victims of physical or sexual abuse receive therapy, counseling and an opportunity for justice there each year.
They're the faces the law won't allow to be shown. Faces foreign, even to the teenage volunteers who help the Family & Children's Place in its food pantries and activity centers.
"I don't think I know any," Iroquois High School sophomore Michael Taylor said.
"I kind of sensed it," Iroquois senior Kasia Jaalouk said. "Because, you know, the world. A lot of hard times going on."
The General Assembly's Task Force on Vulnerable Kentuckians got a broad sketch of citizens at risk at its first hearing Wednesday. Formed after the 2016 Regular Session ended, its chair, Rep. Jim Wayne (D-Louisville) was the only lawmaker to vote against the 11th hour budget compromise that virtually doubled the yearly contributions to pension funds for teachers and state workers to shore up a $23-35 billion projected shortfall.
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Wednesday, speakers translated his concerns into numbers.
"We have so many people who are at risk for homelessness," said Curtiss Stauffer, of the Homeless & Housing Coalition. "This is just talking about our renter population."
More than one quarter of Kentucky renters are shelling out more than half their monthly income for rent, Stauffer said.
"Some of our major employers now are paying one half the wages for the new workers they paid for their old workers," said Ron Crouch, a consultant who analyzes demographic and economic data. "Some of those new workers who have family qualify for food stamps."
TARC buses are the wheels for more than 45,000 people daily, marketing Kay Stewart told the task force. Kentucky provides about $1.7 million.
"That's about 15 million rides a year," Stewart said.