LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — When the unexpectedness of life takes over, United Way's WayPoint Center aims to be the guide for people living in underserved neighborhoods and people of color.
Impact Manager Gerri Botts runs the center on Lexington's west side at the Black and Williams Center. It's an area she's known her whole life and a job she says was a dream of hers.
"I grew up right here in this community which makes it great because I've seen the changes, but I also have seen the things that haven't changed," said Botts. "We're addressing things that I saw as a little girl growing up and when I actually saw the ad for this position. A friend sent it to me and they said this is you- this is what you've been talking about for years."
Every day Botts squirrels around doing anything from connecting them to jobs, to housing, to education, food, and also mental and physical health resources. She says whatever someone needed help with, she has found a way to meet their need.
"I'm not gonna stop," said Botts.
It's the same at the east side location in the Charles Young Center.
"We find a way," said Community Impact Manager Damon Horton." A lot of people come in and they just feel helpless. How am I when life happens - it's multiple things happening at the same time. My rent is late, what am I gonna do? My electric is late or I might need some food."
Horton is also from the community he works in and says that's why he's so dedicated to the people.
"It bogs down on people and then they feel like there's nowhere to turn, there's no one that can help me," said Horton.
The process starts with a series of questions like 'Do you have safe and secure housing?' 'When was the last time you saw a dentist or a doctor?' 'Do you need insurance?'
The United Way of the Bluegrass has coordinated an ecosystem of their partners who have programs and money to help right then.
With so many people telling them they got lost in call logs when looking for help, the organization says its goal was to fill a clear need.
"We saw a need for a physical location where people in the communities could walk or take a bus or drive their cars and be here and speak face to face with someone," said Jenn Goble, Marketing and Communications Director.
The WayPoint Center partners with several organizations like Toyota, which allow them to offer free programming.
If you’re interested in learning more visit: www.uwbg.org/waypointcenter