A downtown Lexington resident spoke to Lexington Urban County Council members during work session public comment today, after the Lexington Homelessness Task Force reported their findings to the Council. She urged them to pass a proposed tax that would address Lexington’s homeless population, saving both money and lives in the short and long term:
“I was really glad so many people voted in favor of accepting Steve [Kay]’s proposal, however I live in the real world and know when constituents start saying ‘we don’t want a new tax,’ the vote may be in the end for you not to raise that tax. As councilman [Chris] Ford pointed out, ‘it is the economically responsible thing to do because it will bring the cost down overall. But you need to face the fact, there are very few things that city council gets to do that actually saves human lives, and this is an issue where people die, because they are not getting housed, and they’re not getting the help they need. We have had 36,897 people die homeless in this country last year. That’s a pretty staggering number, and some of those were right here in Lexington.
I’ve been homeless three times, once as a mother, twice because I lost my jobs. When I was the Mom of a nine-year-old it was because I had lost both my full time jobs, once was managing the apartments that provided the housing over my [head], and it was during Daddy Bush’s administration when Lexington didn’t have jobs. And by the grace of God, I got into transitional housing so we didn’t live out in the cold. And last year during the winter I walked in my church’s office at ten til five and they were desperately trying to find housing for a family — and that is how bad the stress is for homeless housing in this community. They weren’t able to find shelter for that family that night, and it broke my heart. Because my church, how I got to them, they provided my transitional housing. So I pray, when it comes time to get this tax and put this program into effect, that the Council does stand strong.”
Task Force findings have been referred to Budget & Finance committee for action.