Homeless count taking place in Bell County

Published 4:24 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Volunteers will be working in very cold weather Wednesday and Thursday to identify the number of families and individuals who are homeless in this area.

The count is part of the 2019 K-Count, which is coordinated with Kentucky Housing Corporation.

It is a “point-in-time” snapshot of people who are experiencing homelessness across Kentucky. The count will include people temporarily living in emergency shelters and transitional housing programs as well as those who are also unsheltered.

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“During this 24-hour period, the people who have knowledge of where these people hang out, we will go to these places and engage these people and talk to them and fill out a simple form,” said Lisa Evans, event organizer. “We don’t ask their name but we will ask why they are here, where do you sleep at night, what brought you here, and we will have factual information to share with (them).”

Each week a free community meal is provided at Salvation Army at 118 North 18th Street. On Wednesday, the meal will help with the annual project to count homeless residents.

“If you or someone you know meets this criteria, we can provide information regarding additional resources,” Nina Shoemaker, meal organizer said.

The information gathered will be forwarded to the federal Housing and Urban Development agency, and the numbers will be used to allocate housing money and financial assistance for housing.

Understanding the scope of homelessness in the local area will allow planners to more effectively target resources. The goal is to help minimize the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness and, in turn, reduce the inefficient and costly use of other valuable resources in the community.

Organizers are asking for donations of hats, scarves, gloves, and food vouchers or gift cards so that when homeless families are found and counted, they can be provided with a meal or other resources.

“If you sleep outside, maybe even in your car, if you move from emergency shelter to a friend’s couch, and then back to the shelter, be counted,” Evans said. “Make your voice heard as part of the annual K-Count. With your help, Kentucky will better understand the need for more affordable housing and support services.”

If you want to be involved, contact Lisa Evans at 606-499-6969 or Nina Shoemaker at 606-499-1987 for more information.