lex end homelessness story
Scott’s Story: Kindness is Free

Scott was born in West Virginia but calls Morgan County, eastern Kentucky home. He grew up on a 450 acre farm there and is a farmer himself by trade. They had beef cattle and grew thousands of pounds of tobacco and corn. When there weren’t crops to harvest or cattle to raise, he’d find work in the local coal mines. He’s a very reserved man and prefers to give direct and brief summaries of his beginnings and current situation. Homelessness can be a degrading experience for anyone, but Scott exudes a quiet dignity that forces you to see his humanity. He is an exemplar of Appalachia: humble and kind. 

He moved to Lexington in 2016 when he had to report for parole meetings in the city. Upon his arrival in Lexington, he didn’t have any source of income or housing. This was the first time Scott experienced homelessness. To make the situation more complicated, Scott is also disabled. He got hurt on the job while still living in Appalachia and had to spend over a year learning how to walk again. Doctors advised Scott that if he were to lift anything wrong or push the limits of his recovery, he’d run the risk of paralysis, so manual labor is now out of the question. “It was hard to find a home here in Lexington, because I make $787 a month. Most places to rent are $800 or more, plus the deposit, so it’s hard to find something that will work.” Thankfully, after about a year and a half of being unhoused, he was finally able to find and rent a home, thanks in part to the Lexington Rescue Mission. 

After a few years of being housed, Scott was locked up on a non-violent charge, but while he was in jail he lost his house due to increasing rent and lack of income. This, alongside the temporary cease in his disability checks, have led Scott to be unhoused in Lexington since January 4th of this year. Because Scott found stable housing after his first experience of homelessness, he’s optimistic that once his disability checks resume, he’ll find housing again. In the meantime, he’s applied for assistance with the Rescue Mission here in Lexington, but was told that due to a high volume of applications that it might take awhile before he would be contacted. The first time he experienced homelessness, the Rescue Mission helped him pay rent and secure a lease for a home. He regards this as the only triumph he’s encountered since his move to Lexington. Scott’s hopeful that in November or December his checks will resume, but until then, he believes that he will remain unhoused. “I used to think this would never happen to me. But I learned the hard way that situations can change that lead you to [experiencing] homelessness. I hope no one ever has to learn the way I did.” 

 In his words, his first period of homelessness wasn’t so bad, but this one is worse. “Every time you lie down, someone, or the cops, show up and tell you, ‘You can’t sleep here, you have to go somewhere else.’ But at eleven o’clock at night, it’s hard to find somewhere to sleep.” He explained that he usually tries to sleep near the public library because the geographic location protects him from harsh weather. He wakes up every morning at 5:30 to pack up his belongings, and he’s especially conscious to never leave any trash or trace of his existence. During the day, Scott walks around Lexington. He likes to trim overgrown flower bushes he comes across, and sometimes he’ll keep the clippings and pass them out to people he passes by on the street. “I just like to make people smile.” 

Lex End Homelessness is dedicated to making sure no one has to learn about the trials of homelessness the way Scott has. You can get involved with Lex End Homelessness by visiting our website, joining the Continuum of Care, donating to the Lex End Homelessness campaign, or by following us on social media @lexendhomelessness.