LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — Each year, the City of Lexington conducts an annual survey to learn more about the city’s homeless population.
Current estimates show that there are around 715 people experiencing homelessness in Lexington. Local officials use actions such as LEXCount to get a firmer gauge on that number and provide resources for those who call the streets home.
“It allows us to not only arrive at a count of persons that are experiencing homelessness, but we also get a snapshot of what that population looks like, so we better understand their service needs,” said Homelessness Prevention Manager in Lexington Jeffrey Herron.
Since 2018 Herron said the number of people who experience homelessness has been fairly consistent.
Herron said the count also allows city officials to better tailor services to people experiencing homelessness based on their needs.
“Individuals versus families experiencing homelessness, the prevalence of things like disabling conditions and chronic homelessness,” Herron explains.
For people whom the city has seen in past surveys, LEXCount also provides an opportunity to reconnect with them.
“Sometimes this is a way for us to reconnect with them,” Herron explains. “Maybe we haven’t been able to locate them, or they haven’t been in touch recently.”
When it comes to ending homelessness in Lexington, Herron believes there is one thing that will put the city on that path.
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“We definitely need to make additional investments and permanent housing,” Herron said. “Housing is the number one thing that would end homelessness. We can talk about participation and things like treatment and services. And while we definitely encourage that, it’s a lot easier for folks to achieve that when they have a fixed and stable nighttime residence.”
Aside from counting the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness, LEXCount volunteers will also be helping people find emergency shelter to get out of the cold as temperatures are expected to dip near freezing.
They will also be handing out care packages with various essentials.