LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The number of homeless young adults is rising in Louisville and city officials are asking the community to step up as mentors, donors and volunteers in an effort to bring the numbers down.
The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/17ZPa0z) cited the city's homeless database in reporting that 555 people between the ages of 18 and 24 slept in homeless shelters last year. Natalie Harris, director for Louisville's Coalition for the Homeless, said that's more than double the number in 2010.
City leaders and advocates held a joint news conference to ask the community for help in dealing with the problem. Mayor Greg Fischer urged Louisville residents not to "walk the other way and say it's not my problem."
"We have a vested interest ... because they are the wage-earners of our future," said Stacy Deck, vice-chair of the coalition board.
Harris said a survey shows many of the young adults don't have support from their elders.
"Many of our young adults said they do not have anyone who is there for them to help with such decisions as their personal safety, housing, transportation, their education and their employment," Harris said.
Josh Swetnam, director of programs for Boys & Girls Haven, which serves several foster children, said budget cuts have meant less resources to help foster children transition into adulthood.
"The need is the highest it's been, but the resources are diminished," he said.
Markia Pence, 19, is sleeping at a Salvation Army after she dropped out of Kentucky State University and couldn't find a job.
"I know I want something better for myself," Pence said Monday.
Jaymez Haskins, also 19, said he doesn't have a home and can't find work after medical problems, an apartment fire and other difficulties.
"A lot of people my age are homeless; people don't realize it," he said.
Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com