Homelessness is caused when a person lacks access to a support system to remain housed during times of crisis–the types of crises that can affect anyone. A support system is not only about having somewhere to live; ending and preventing homelessness is connected to fair working wages, food security, affordable housing, access to child care, safe domestic situations, and medical coverage. To end homelessness, then, demands a holistic and systemic approach.
Lex End Homelessness (LEH) is our community’s movement to prevent and end homelessness. Our mission is to ensure everyone in Lexington has access to housing by building a coordinated strategy that brings hope and stability to all. Lex End Homelessness is a network of nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals working together to achieve a shared vision: that everyone in Lexington has a safe, stable home and the support they need to thrive.
Lex End Homelessness is fueled by the passion of people in our community who make up the Continuum of Care (CoC). The CoC is the comprehensive network of partners and leaders in Fayette County that work together to coordinate the policies, strategies, and actions that end and prevent homelessness. Over 70 and growing Continuum of Care partners, which include area churches, community leaders, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies and more, work together through a coordinated effort to end and prevent homelessness.
We are excited about the #LexEndHomelessness movement because it allows the entire community to come together under one common vision for their neighbors and themselves. We already have an amazing core network of partners. This allows all of our neighbors to join the movement, understanding how every citizen plays a role in ending homelessness.”Jeff Herron, the Continuum of Care coordinator for Lex End Homelessness
LEH’s coordinated approach to meet housing needs is both effective and efficient. Before Lex End Homelessness, when a person living in Lexington experienced a housing related crisis, they might not have known where and how to access support in the community. If they were able to seek help from a local agency, depending on the person’s circumstances, the agency may not have been the appropriate contact, or may have lacked the needed resources. The Continuum of Care solves this problem. LEH partners receive similar crisis response training and share access to resources. CoC partners operate under a “no wrong door” policy: whatever LEH partner door may be “knocked on” during a crisis, that person seeking assistance receives an open door, and more importantly, consistent and comprehensive support.
As homelessness is caused by systemic issues, the Continuum of Care allows partners to address a person’s situation holistically and sustainably, addressing the cause(s) of their housing crisis, and securing the ongoing support needed to secure and stabilize housing. Rather than attempting to meet all of the needs of each person seeking assistance, through shared resources and mutual understanding of each partner’s organizational scope, the coordinated effort allows each partner to focus their efforts on doing what they do best in providing direct care services. As Darlene Thomas, Executive Director of Greenhouse 17 and LEH board member puts it, there is power in joining together to end homelesses: “none of us can do this alone”. LEH supports each partner to help individuals move “from crisis to self sufficiency” (Thomas).
Lex End Homelessness also serves as the informational hub as it provides its partners and the community with up to date data on homelessness in Fayette County through our new Tableau Dashboard, available on our website (http://lexendhomelessness.com/solutions/#Data). Providing accurate data helpsLEH partners to effectively intervene in systemic issues that contribute to homelessness and to support people in their long term efforts to remain housed. Our partners advocate for data driven policies that help to solve the homelessness crisis, which also make economic sense for our community.
Lex End Homelessness and its coordinated effort is already proving to be the key to ending homelessness. Ending homelessness in Lexington is “ just the right thing to do [..] it’s how we take care of our neighbors” (Thomas). It’s also the smart thing to do. According to Lexington business owner and Lex End Homelessness board member Adrian Wallace, “ I support Lex End Homelessness because for every 10 dollars invested in Housing First, our community saves $21.72.” A stable economy is just one component of our thriving community.
Join us as we work to open doors. Together.
Any organization that provides direct services, advocates, interacts with, or otherwise has any contact with people experiencing homelessness in Lexington is encouraged to join the movement and the CoC.
To join, contact Jeff Herron, LEH Continuum of Care Coordinator, at [email protected].
To help us scale up our effective efforts to end homeleness, donate.
To continue to learn more about Lex End Homelessness and the Continuum of Care bookmark the LEH website at: lexendhomelessness.com. You can also follow LEH on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.