Greater Lexington has seen a significant decline in the number of homeless persons. According to the annual homeless count in January, Lexington homelessness reached its lowest level since 2005.
Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention Director Polly Ruddick says the 2018 count was 366 fewer than a year ago. She says the emphasis is on securing permanent housing first and foremost. “Instead of having to move them from this house to this house, from that shelter to this shelter, you know, you come to us and you’re homeless, we will search and locate permanent housing and then once you are permanently housed, we surround you with supportive services,” said Ruddick.
The government official admits employment is not always a part of the formula. “We will work with them and individualize our case management to gain them or maintain an income that works for them, whether that be employment, or SSI, SSDI,” noted Ruddick.
Ruddick anticipates a continued decrease in homelessness over the next year. But, she adds it’s not realistic to see that kind of drop year after year. Ruddick also reports a sizeable amount of resources including federal grant money has been used to help address homelessness in recent years.