The number of people experiencing homelessness in Lexington dropped by 12.5% between 2019 and 2020, according to LexCount, the City’s annual point-in-time count.
This year’s count, required by federal agencies, took place on Wednesday, Jan. 29, with 153 local volunteers covering 75 areas across the county.
“We’ve made progress, but we know we still have work to do,” said Mayor Linda Gorton, who thanked all of the volunteers who formed teams and went out into the community to count people without shelter.
The teams found 31 people living unsheltered -- all were offered assistance.
Altogether, the Count found 689 people in Lexington are experiencing homelessness, including 603 people living in emergency shelters, 55 in transitional housing, and 31 unsheltered.
The numbers, a snapshot of those experiencing homelessness, show a 55.4% decrease in overall homelessness since 2014, and a 66% decrease in people living without shelter since 2014, said Polly Ruddick, the City’s Director of the Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention. “We use this data to analyze trends, identify gaps in funding, and gauge our overall impact on ending homelessness,” Ruddick said.
The 31 people without shelter included no children, and one veteran. Lexington has special programs to reach out to homeless veterans, and in 2019 was the first city in the state to effectively end veteran homelessness. The veteran located through LexCount will immediately get the support needed to quickly obtain a permanent home.
The Office of Homelessness Prevention & Intervention was formed in 2014 in response to a report by the Mayor’s Commission on Homelessness as a way to better coordinate Lexington’s system of homelessness services.
In addition to LexCount, the Office has provided funding to launch Fayette County’s first Mental Health Court, implement four new permanent housing programs, a ticket home program, an Intensive Street Outreach program, payee program, local transportation program in partnership with LexTran, and many more. The Office has also been able to secure record high amounts of federal housing dollars to Fayette County.
“This decline and continuing progress are possible because Lexington has an outstanding network of caring organizations and people who work every day to care for people who need help,” Gorton said.