Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions (FAQs) about issues related to homelessness,
and ways to get involved in ending homelessness.
Responding to People in Crisis
Call 911 immediately. Please be ready to provide information about the exact location of the person or incident, including a description of the behavior and the person(s) involved.
Report encampments to the Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention at (859) 258-3070 and/or 311 (Lexington’s centralized service and info center). Be prepared to share where the encampment is located and the approximate number of people observed camping.
Learn more about the process for responding to encampments:
There are standard operating procedures in place that officials must follow. These procedures include posting a notice of pending removal. Case law requires that people are given due process to remove their property. This also allows time for our street outreach teams to connect people to housing options and services.
Panhandling is protected on public property in the Constitution under the First Amendment. Panhandling is not illegal in public spaces unless is obstructing traffic, in a median, or in an aggressive manner.
Examples of aggressive panhandling include intentionally blocking or interfering with the safe passage of a person or vehicle, speaking to or following a person in a way that would cause someone to fear harm, or touching a person without consent.
We ask that you do not give out cash or spare change as this can support addiction or other harmful behaviors. If you feel the need to give, offer water, non-perishable food items, socks, hygiene items, or bus passes.
Or, donate time or money to the many organizations working to get people housed (check out our donation page for more info on how to give).
Read more about our take on panhandling:
Ending Homelessness in Lexington
The simple answer? Get people housed. It is more cost-effective to get people into stable housing than it is to have people unhoused or using emergency shelters and services. Think of it like this— you wouldn’t want people accessing the E.R. for all of their medical needs, right? Once we get people into housing, we can address other issues (like treating mental illness and addiction, getting employed, etc).
A lot! While there is still work to be done, our Continuum of Care (CoC) partners are making strides in getting people into stable housing each year. You can read more about our efforts on the about us page, or check out our performance data on our CoC data dashboards.