LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — On Wednesday night, volunteers will conduct LexCount 2020, an annual count of homeless people and families in Lexington and Fayette County.
The Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention is still looking for people to walk the streets and help count homeless individuals who aren't currently staying in emergency shelters. Some volunteers will also count those staying in temporary shelters.
Along with collecting total homelessness numbers, the Office looks at sub-populations, like age, those struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, and those with disabilities.
This data helps measure the effectiveness of city services in reducing and ending homelessness. It’s also used to figure out how much government, state, and local funding Lexington receives and where it can go.
"This really impacts our federal housing dollars right here in Lexington,” said Polly Ruddick, Director of the Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention. “These numbers are sent to Congress along with our annual numbers every year and it's the only thing that they really have to make funding decisions about our community.">
Last year, 787 individuals were counted. Of those counted, 69 were children living in emergency shelters. Since the city started tracking these numbers, there have been different trends among the homeless population.
"We are seeing an increase in our female population and our aging population,” said Ruddick. "Mental illness is still a portion of our homeless population that is increasing."
If you're interested in volunteering, you'll need to attend a training session that begins at 8:00 p.m. at Heritage Baptist Church at 163 N Ashland Drive. The count will start around 10 p.m. For more information, you can contact the Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention and talk to Jeff Herron.