What is LexCount?
LexCount is Lexington’s annual Point-in-Time (PIT) count of all people experiencing homelessness (including emergency shelter, transitional housing, or unsheltered homelessness) in Lexington on a single night in January. Volunteers and service providers canvass the entire geographic area of Lexington-Fayette County to physically count and engage all
individuals experiencing literal homelessness. Literal homelessness is defined as sleeping in a place not meant for human habitation, an emergency shelter operated/paid for by an organization, or a transitional housing program dedicated to those experiencing homelessness.
This year, LexCount took place on the evening of January 25, 2023.
2023 LexCount: A Quick Data Snapshot
The 2023 LexCount identified 815 individuals living without permanent housing. This is a 14.0% increase from 2022. Unless otherwise noted, all percentages compare to LexCount results from 2022.
- Adults: 709 single adult individuals were identified, which is the highest number since 2017. This is a 25% increase.
- Families: 105 people were in households with children, which is a 29% decrease.
- Children: 62 children were identified during the LexCount. This is the lowest number ever (excluding 2021 which was not a full count) and is an 18% decrease from the previous year.
- Youth: 49 people experiencing homelessness in Fayette County during the LexCount were youth ages 18 to 24. This is a 53% increase.
- Veterans: 62 individuals (or 7.6% of those experiencing homelessness in Fayette County) are veterans, compared to the national average of 8%.
- Chronic homelessness: Chronic homelessness increased for the second year in a row, though at a significantly lower rate than in 2022. 159 chronically homeless persons were identified, a slight increase of 12%.
Full LexCount results are available on our website and are shared with all Continuum of Care partners and local human service providers. We also present the results to the Urban County Council and the administration to educate local Councilmembers on local progress, trends, and needs. Finally, we share results with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which offers us more funding opportunities based on our local needs.
Understanding the 2023 LexCount Data
Even though rates of homelessness have increased between 2022 and 2023 for some groups, LEH is still making strides toward safe, stable, and affordable housing for all. However, there are important points to keep in mind:
First, LexCount offers an approximation of homelessness data. LexCount is conducted on a single night. It does not include people who may be experiencing homelessness but were in hospitals or emergency care clinics, jails or prisons, or in other unstable housing (such as motels) at the time of the count. Other factors like weather can also influence how many people are counted. This means that year-by-year comparisons are not exact and only represent general trends.
Next, the increase in homelessness is a national trend. However, Lexington’s rates of homelessness are lower than the national average for chronic and veteran homelessness. We are also excited to note that the number of children and families experiencing homelessness during the 2023 LexCount is at an all-time low.
Finally, homelessness is a systemic problem. The end of the local COVID-19 eviction moratorium, the lack of affordable housing, and the disparity between minimum wage and living costs are all reasons why Lexington, as well as other communities, are facing increased homelessness.
Our Next Steps
LexCount helps us understand local needs and plan for future homelessness prevention and intervention services. Because unsheltered homelessness is trending upward despite capacity in emergency shelters and transitional housing, data indicates a need to:
- Increase investments in permanent supportive housing.
- Add intensive support and longer-term rental assistance for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Explore how existing shelter beds can better meet the needs of unsheltered persons before investing more in shelters.
Getting Involved with Ending Homelessness
One key way to support our community is to volunteer in the annual LexCount. Each January, we put out a call for community members who are interested in participating. It is a great opportunity for those looking to get involved in local advocacy work, expand their knowledge of how to work with people experiencing homelessness or extend their community services.
You can also support Lex End Homelessness’ work year-round by viewing our online Advocacy Tips, attending an Advocacy, Issues, and Programs Committee Meeting, joining the Continuum of Care, donating to the LEH campaign, or following us on social media @lexendhomelessness.