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Homelessness in Louisville increased by 139% this year, nonprofit says

"We lack housing for our poorest citizens," George Eklund with the Coalition for the Homeless said. "Where are people supposed to go?"

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Coalition for the Homeless says the number of unsheltered residents in the Metro has more than doubled in the first few months of 2023.

Officials said during the week of Jan. 24, 2023, a team of homeless outreach workers found 581 unsheltered residents living on Louisville's streets. The nonprofit said during a comparable week in 2022, there were only 243.

"This represents a 139% increase in the number of unsheltered Louisvillians during any given week," the Coalition said in a press release.

The nonprofit says a huge part of the problem is clearing encampments, especially during Derby season. 

"It just keeps resetting your clock putting you back to square zero. Not square one, square zero. Trying to get to square one all over again," Markus Young said.

Young started living outside after falling on hard times two years ago. Since then, he says each time his tent is cleared, he loses shelter and necessities needed for housing. 

Rashann Martin, director of Saint John's Center, says removing people from their belonging only makes matters worse.

"It makes it harder, it makes it more expensive for people like us and our outreach team to connect people with services and it keeps people in crisis," Martin said. 

In February, the Coalition released a plan to tackle homelessness in Lousiville. It consisted of increasing the city's budget to provide more shelter beds and more affordable housing.

"Our shelters are full, and we lack housing for our poorest citizens. Where are people supposed to go?" George Eklund, director of advocacy and education, said.

Mayor Craig Greenberg is expected to provide his first city budget on April 27. He says public safety is a top priority due to the city's gun violence epidemic.

The Coalition says residents can voice their support to end homelessness by clicking here.

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