Parternship plans new position to help homelessness


by Alex Schuman

Posted on October 22, 2013 at 11:44 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 23 at 12:01 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A new person who goes around downtown trying to help homeless and get rid of panhandlers.

That is a small piece of the job description for the newest soon-to-be-open at the Louisville Downtown Partnership.  They want to hire a, “Homeless Advocate,” to go downtown and help homeless people like James.

“I want to work,” he said to us standing on the sidewalk by the Wayside Christian Mission.  “I need a job bad.”

He believes his only two options for help are Wayside and the Salvation Army.

“It’s kind of hard to figure out where to go for help cause there’s not a lot of places around here that can help you,” he said.

James could, in fact, go to at least two other shelters in town, and could get assistance from several other organizations.  The problem is that he, and other homeless, might not know where to go or how to get access to help.  The Louisville Downtown Partnership wants to change this with their Homeless Advocate position.

“He or she would be on the street virtually full-time,” Ken Herndon, Louisville Downtown Partnership said.  “And they would be out there looking for people who need some assistance.”

The latest Homeless Census from Project Homeless estimates more than 8,000 people in Louisville did not have a home last year.  Herndon said the advocate’s job would also include getting rid of panhandlers.

“Most of the folks that do that are what we call the professional panhandlers.  They’re not really homeless people,” said Herndon.  “They’re pretending to be or assumed to be.  And they take advantage of folks in that way.  And those are the folks we hope to move along while we attend to those folks who really need it.”

The advocate would help homeless learn their options and keep up on appoints with the goal of finding work; or a permanent place to stay.  Similar advocates exist in other cities, including Cincinnati, and have been successful, according to the Herndon. 

James, is open to anything that helps him get back to work.

“I don’t what it is – dishwasher,” he said.  “I need a job.”