Louisville, KY (January 5, 2017) – The fastest rising group of the homeless population, both locally and nationwide, are young adults age 18-24. From 2008 to 2009, 2009 to 2010, and again from 2010 to 2011, the number of homeless young adults in Louisville doubled, reaching a peak of 562 in 2013. In 2015, 418 young adults age 18-24 were living in adult emergency shelter or on the streets, plus an additional 450 youth below the age of 18 were served by YMCA Safe Place Services of Louisville.
In response to this alarming data, the Coalition for the Homeless and a committee of nearly 50 local providers, community leaders and government members have launched a new Rx: Housing initiative to end homelessness among unaccompanied young adults by the end of 2020, if not sooner. The extensive plan focuses on intervention by providing housing and life-changing services, which are intended to lead to health benefits and self-sufficiency. Partners include the Family Scholar House, Home of the Innocents, YMCA Safe Place Services of Louisville, KentuckianaWorks, YouthBuild and Centerstone. The effort’s success will be gauged on nine measurable outcome goals, including housing all identified homeless young adults and shortening the length of time young adults are unsheltered to no more than 30 days.
The committee’s work began in the last quarter of 2016 by assembling a Youth Advisory Board, comprised of young adults who have been homeless at some point during their lives, who helped the committee understand the barriers to success and made recommendations on every aspect of the plan. Ongoing efforts include collecting and creating data on homeless youth, mapping the existing services, identifying and prioritizing gaps in resources, prioritizing projects for funding, measuring the success of various housing models, coordinating services to ensure that all youth on a by-name list are served, and updating the list monthly to measure progress.
The Coalition for the Homeless estimates that the annual cost to taxpayers for the 418 homeless young adults identified in Louisville is $14,892,156. The likelihood of government assistance for a lifetime for young adults increases exponentially if their needs are not addressed by the age of 24.
“We have no time to lose as witnessed by increasing crime rates and the numbers of disconnected youth in our city,” says Natalie Harris, Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless. “This is an ambitious plan, but because we’ve had success with our previous Rx: Housing initiatives (reducing the chronically homeless by 66% and reaching functional zero for veteran homelessness), we know that we can be successful again, thanks to our collaborative and data-driven solutions modeled on national best practices.”
Over the past several years, Metro Louisville has been successful in lowering the number of chronic street homeless and homeless veterans within our community due to concerted effort and funding for housing targeted to these populations.
As more homeless become housed, the affordable rental market becomes tighter and the need for more affordable housing in our community increases. Ways for members of the community to get involved include donating to Rx: Housing to fund deposits and furniture, hiring or mentoring a homeless or disconnected young person, and advocate for more funding for the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund. In addition, landlords can rent housing to a homeless person with a voucher and supportive services (contact John Miles at Metro Louisville at email@example.com
About the Coalition for the Homeless
The Coalition for the Homeless, located at 1300 S. 4th Street, Suite 250, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to prevent and eliminate homelessness in Louisville. The Coalition has a three-pronged approach to this mission: advocacy, education, and coordination of their 31 member agencies who provide a variety of services to the homeless throughout the city. The Coalition won the 2014 Center for Nonprofit Excellence’s Art of Social Innovation Pyramid Award for its Bed One-Stop Program. For more information, visit www.louhomeless.org, call (502) 636-9550, or find The Coalition for the Homeless on Facebook at www.facebook.com/
LouHomeless or on Twitter @louhomeless.