Mayor announces task force to review policies in dealing with homeless encampments
Mayor Fischer announced today that he is creating a task force to review city policies and procedures in dealing with homeless encampments.
The new Homeless Encampment Task Force will be led by Eric Friedlander, the city’s Chief Resilience Officer, and will include representatives from the Coalition for the Homeless, St. John’s Center, LMPD, Metro Corrections and Metro’s Office for Resilience and Community Services.
“The way that Louisville Metro Government takes on challenges, from economic development to public safety to sustainability, is to bring people who have different perspectives together around a common purpose,” the Mayor said. “The task force will help us find better ways to serve our homeless citizens.”
Mayor Fischer also announced his support for Metro Councilman Bill Hollander’s homeless protection ordinance, which, among other procedures, would mandate 21-day notices before clearing out homeless encampments. And the Mayor said he is suspending all operations clearing out homeless encampments until after the ordinance passes and/or updated procedures are in place.
The goal, he said, “is to build on the success we’ve had in reducing homelessness in our city.” For example:
- The Long Term Housing Division of Resilience and Community Services subsidizes housing and provides case management for over 400 citizens who used to be homeless.
- In 2014, Mayor Fischer joined mayors across America in signing the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness and, working with the Coalition for the Homeless and other agencies, secured housing for all 360 homeless veterans known at the time, achieving “functional zero” by November 2015. The city now has procedures in place to house homeless veterans as soon as they are identified, and remains at “functional zero” for homeless veterans.
- On Aug. 1, the Coalition for the Homeless and a team of local service providers and community leaders launched the 100-Day Challenge: To house at least 100 homeless youth and young adults in our city by Nov. 8. The city exceeded the goal, housing 115 youth within those 100 days.
Citing Metro government budgetary pressures and reductions in state and federal funding for such work, the Mayor also today urged all citizens and private organizations to step up and help out, by volunteering time and donating funds to help the homeless.
“Every human being who finds themselves living on our streets is an individual with their own story and their own needs. And we want to treat them with dignity, respect and compassion, and do everything we can to help them get the resources they need,” he said. “That’s a shared community goal, and it will take the work of all of us to realize that goal.”
He encouraged people to find out more by going to the Coalition for the Homeless website, at Louhomeless.org.