LOUISVILLE – Beginning its work to find solutions that would help citizens most in need, the newly formed House Task Force on Vulnerable Kentuckians focused this morning on homelessness in the commonwealth during its inaugural meeting, which was held at the Transit Authority of the River City Metro Station building in downtown Louisville. The task force’s 12 legislators heard from several presenters about their work to address the complex issue.
Those who spoke included Ron Crouch, an economic and demographic statistics and data expert who highlighted statistical trends about vulnerable groups in the state; Curtiss Stauffer with the Homeless and Housing Coalition; Melissa Johnson with Volunteers of America; Roxanna Trivitt and Sister Jean Anne Zappa with Shively Area Ministries; and John Koehlinger with Kentucky Refugee Ministries.
“The different perspectives shared here today represent a vast network of organizations trying to stanch the rising rates of homelessness and the issues that cause it,” said state Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, who chairs the task force. “The meeting was informative yet troubling. It is clear that our outlook is bleak because of population stagnation, Kentucky’s flat economy, low-wage jobs and no jobs in some geographic areas.”
State Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Louisville, who serves as the task force’s vice chair, said that “while these agencies are helping a small percentage of hurting Kentuckians, and we heard of some great success stories, our commonwealth is facing a looming crisis which must be addressed. I’m hopeful our task force will have recommendations by the end of the year that will bring about positive change.”
The Task Force is scheduled to hold its second meeting on Wednesday, July 6th, at 10 a.m. in the 5th Congressional District in Eastern Kentucky. Further details about the meeting’s location and agenda will be distributed in the coming weeks.