Mayor Gorton: New vouchers will help city move closer to ending homelessness

Posted at 11:27 AM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 18:05:36-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Lexington took a big step toward effectively ending homelessness Thursday through 76 new federally funded emergency housing vouchers, Mayor Linda Gorton said.

“Over a period of many years, Lexington has worked hard to put a roof over the heads of people who are experiencing homelessness, and we have had considerable success,” Gorton said. “Today’s announcement will get us close to our goal of effectively eliminating homelessness, and bring much-needed long-term stabilization to families hit hard by the pandemic.”

Emergency housing vouchers are tenant-based rental assistance vouchers designed to help individuals and families who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness, and provide a safe place for those who are fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking.

Housing Authority Executive Director Austin Simms said, when compared to larger cities, Lexington was pleased with the number of vouchers it received.

“The Housing Authority is excited about and appreciative that we have received these 76 vouchers to support our desire to end homelessness in Lexington. We’ve put HUD on notice that if for any reason they have unused vouchers, we will be happy to accept them,” Simms said. “This collaborative effort among the Housing Authority, city government and social services support agencies is indicative of the possibilities that exist when we work together.”

Polly Ruddick, director of the city's Office of Homelessness, said she is ecstatic that the hard work and dedication of community partners in Lexington are taking the next step to end family homelessness.

“The Housing Authority is doing tremendous work to provide permanent housing to those who need it most," she said. "We will continue to work together to serve those most in need with effective and efficient services.”

Ruddick’s office will make voucher referrals via the Lexington-Fayette County Continuum of Care Coordinated Entry list, and will work closely with the Housing Authority and community partners to ensure ongoing supportive services.

Vouchers will be prioritized based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, housing status, household composition and health conditions.

The Lexington Housing Authority\ has partnered with the Office of Homelessness (CoC) to quickly refer and lease-up those experiencing homelessness. This program offers households the opportunity to remove all barriers to housing by assisting with security deposits, utility arrears and deposits, $500 incentives for landlords for participation, 120% of fair market rent payment to landlords, and so much more.

How can you participate?

  1. Participate in Lexington’s Coordinated Entry system.
  2. Make sure all families with children, survivors of human trafficking, and domestic violence are on the Coordinated List now!
  3. Start finding open units now for households with children that will be referred next week.
  4. Start establishing ongoing supportive services for your clients.

The Office of Homelessness will be utilizing Lexington’s Coordinated Entry system to make referrals for this program. Referrals will be prioritized from Coordinated Entry in the following manner:

First Priority

1. Housing Status: Literally homeless
2. Household Composition: Households with Children

Second Priority

1. Housing Status: Literally homeless
2. Reason for Homelessness: Fleeing Domestic Violence or Human Trafficking

Third Priority

1. Housing Status: Literally homeless
2. Income: Fixed

If you would like more information on Coordinated Entry or how to participate, contact Jeff Herron at