Homelessness and housing insecurity are realities in every community in Kentucky. Professionals in the social services and affordable housing fields believe that city leaders must be part of any solution to these issues. The Kentucky League of Cities Homelessness and Housing effort is an ongoing initiative (launched in 2021) to provide information and resources for members.
Homelessness, Housing Insecurity, and Affordable Housing
KLC's July 2022 publication How To: A Step-by-Step Guide to Examine Homelessness and Affordable Housing in Your City, can help communities assess housing and homelessness locally. The digital guide provides links, valuable contacts, and resources throughout Kentucky. It also features suggestions on recruiting affordable housing developers and a section on how to serve as a local convener to discuss the challenges associated with affordable housing and homelessness in your community.
Persons experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity can be anyone-our parents, siblings, children, or friends. View video profiles of Kentuckians who have experienced homelessness.
Literal homelessness – living on the street or in a shelter - is only part of the problem. It also means living doubled up, couch surfing, living in a car, or even in an uninhabitable home. Housing insecurity also means being on the verge of being without a home.
There are huge gaps statewide for affordable and available housing. Studies from 2017-2019 estimate that Kentucky is short between 78,000 – 100,000 affordable homes/units to rent. And COVID only made it worse. The Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) is the funding source for most federal housing-related funds. With some exceptions (Lexington and Louisville), Kentucky cities do not receive direct funding, so city leaders need to understand what is happening in their jurisdiction and region regarding housing funds.
KLC partnered with the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) Department of Government to provide a detailed snapshot of homelessness and housing in every Kentucky county. The research includes data on housing affordability, wages, market rents, number of renter households, the income required for affordable housing, and more. It also looks at 2022 statistics on homeless individuals for each county, including children and veterans. This information is vital for cities and communities to understand their housing gaps accurately. Ideally, local leaders would share the data with other local officials, business leaders, developers, service providers, and others in the community seeking to address affordable housing and housing insecurity. Learn more about the findings here.
Another excellent source for housing, homelessness and many other types of information is the Kentucky Center for Statistics. The center can create hyper-local and organization or city-specific reports upon request for any city. Contact Marketing Analytics Director Jessica Fletcher, MPA, or Research Analyst Sam Keathley for more information. Learn more here.
Email KLC Member Relations Manager Terri Johnson or call 859-977-3784 with questions.