City announces new Homeless Services Director
Dr. Susan Buchino will provide strategic leadership, planning and evaluation for multiple homeless initiatives
Louisville Metro Government today announced that Dr. Susan Buchino will be the city’s new Homeless Services Director.
Buchino will coordinate the city’s homeless initiatives to help ensure a seamless approach and response, under the direction of Tameka Laird, Director of the Louisville Metro Office of Resilience and Community Services (RCS). Her duties include strategizing and advocating for resources and services to combat homelessness; and providing planning, evaluation and other expertise in the areas of the city’s Homelessness Taskforce, the Homeless Initiative Recipient Model, homeless encampments, and best practices.
Buchino will begin her new duties immediately.
"I’m so excited to have Dr. Buchino join our RCS team,” said Director Laird. “Susan has vast experience dealing with a range of issues involving homelessness throughout Louisville. Through her positions with UofL and its Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky (CIK), her research and evaluation have been a guiding force in our city’s strategies to combat homelessness. I look forward to working with her in this new leadership role to make an even bigger impact.”
Homelessness and affordable housing are among the top priorities for spending the city’s $388 million allotment of federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding. In addition, reducing the number of persons living in Louisville without shelter is an ongoing goal in Louisville Metro’s Strategic Plan. Initiatives include:
- In December 2017, the Homeless Encampment Task Force (since renamed the Homelessness Task Force) was created to identify gaps and barriers in the city’s homeless system which led to the Metro-funded unsheltered homeless initiatives.
- In 2018, Metro Council members enacted an ordinance requiring a 21-day notice for camp removal.
- In 2019, a University of Louisville report identified solutions for reducing street homelessness.
- In July 2021, city leaders announced a multi-pronged approach to transition residents who are unsheltered from the streets to sustainable housing.
- In August 2021, Louisville Metro Government announced an agreement to purchase property at 212 E. College St. to provide unsheltered residents a safe, outdoor space to live temporarily, secure their belongings and access supportive wrap-around services.
- In early 2021, RCS established the Homeless Services Division (HSD) to coordinate the city’s homelessness efforts including communications, outreach, partner engagement, strategic planning and Having a central point within the city’s organization has been instrumental in helping to address the needs of those experiencing homelessness, especially in regards to chronic, unsheltered homelessness.
Buchino maintains a joint appointment at UofL as Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Since 2019, Buchino has been a consultant for Louisville Metro providing research and programmatic evaluation on multiple homeless initiatives. She was the research study lead on the 2019 report, “Solving Street Homelessness in Louisville, KY: Improving the Climate of Care for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness,” released by UofL’s CIK and Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research (CCTSJR). Read the full report here.
In her role at UofL, Buchino also is spearheading Louisville’s new alternative responder model, DOVE Delegates, a pilot project aimed at diverting some 911 calls away from a police response and to a mobile crisis response team. UofL’s CIK and Spalding University worked to research and develop the program’s model.
Buchino earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Spalding University, and a PhD in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences.
“I am honored and excited to join the Homeless Services Division as we work to implement best practices and ensure that our neighbors have access to the resources they need to find and maintain housing," said Buchino. “Houselessness undermines anyone’s ability to feel safe or address any other issue they’re facing, and this division is an important part of RCS’s mission to fight poverty and promote compassion, stability, and the empowerment of residents and communities.”
For more information about Louisville Metro’s Homeless Services Division, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/homeless-services-division or contact [email protected].