Many American cities face serious issues with affordable housing, and there is a certain percentage of the population that ends up without a home. This trend has been growing steadily across the United States for more than a decade now. However, one city in the middle of Kentucky has done its best to not only correct the issue, but to turn the tide against it. Lexington, Kentucky, has brought its homelessness rate down to levels that have not been seen since 2004.
A census in January of this year showed that there were approximately 685 people within the municipal area of Lexington who did not have consistent housing. This is fewer than the number has been in more than a decade. The last time there were that few homeless people recorded in Lexington was January of 2005, when a one-night census found 882. The number grew substantially during the Great Recession and afterward, and this census represents a serious decline from its peak.
The elected officials of Lexington have been strongly committed to finding housing and other support services for the poorest residents of the city. This program, combined with others such as a widely publicized pilot program that gives indigent residents fair-paying day labor, has done much to reduce extreme need within the city. The director of the Lexington Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention, Ms. Polly Ruddick, has stated that the goal of the program is to make sure that people in the city has access to “safe, decent, affordable housing.” She went on to state that the program hopes to provide this access to every single individual. Although the recent numbers are encouraging, city council candidates such as Arnold Farr have been steadfast in their desire to expand the program until there is no need for anyone in Lexington to be without a home.