Mayor Jerry Abramson

Coordinated Strategy to Prevent Homelessness

The City of Louisville has worked in conjunction with other agencies and governmental bodies to develop a two-fold approach to preventing homelessness in our City.

When and Why Created

The Louisville and Jefferson County Coalition for the Homeless developed a structure in 1989 to assist in analyzing and filling the gaps in what came to be known as the Continuum of Care. This process created a Programs Council with ten active committees, including over 100 providers, developers, formerly homeless persons, city and county representatives, and members of the community at large to provide documentation, program design, and partnership development for the needs and issues of the homeless populations. Committees include: Drug/Alcohol Abuse; Homeless Children and Youth; Homeless Families; Homeless Health Care; Homeless Men. s Issues; Homeless Women. s Issues; Legislative; Mental Illness; Shelter Directors; and Food. Through this process, the community participates in an evolving methodology of gaps analysis, program creation/modification/up-dating, and priority setting. Importantly, for this application, this structure has provided the framework for completion of the Gaps Analysis.

The ultimate goal of the Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care is to provide accessible permanent housing and services to local homeless individuals and families who wish to enter it, and appropriate support services to those who do not. This goal has been a constant force in the development of the Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care since its inception in 1994.

Description of Program and Measurements of Effectiveness

Unlike most communities, Louisville and Jefferson County did not need to begin to create a process for the establishment of a Continuum of Care or the identification of community priorities upon learning of the Supportive Housing and Shelter Plus Care funds available. Instead, the Continuum Plan and updating process, identification of needs and gaps, and priority setting are collectively part of the ongoing work of the community. s homeless service providers, housing developers, homeless and formerly homeless persons, the City of Louisville, Jefferson County , corporate and private funders, business associates, and the Homeless Coalition.

The 1998 Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care Plan, developed by the Louisville/Jefferson County Coalition for the Homeless, in partnership with the City of Louisville and Jefferson County Community Development, is the collaborative effort of government agencies, shelter providers, and supportive service agencies committed to ending the plight of more than 11,000 homeless individuals and families in the area. The mission, goals, and action steps of the 1998 Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care are discussed with shelter staff and service providers at various weekly committee meetings, monthly Coalition board meetings, and at Resident Issues Forums. Updating the 1998 Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care is an ongoing process with meetings scheduled throughout the year to review, coordinate, and assess the comprehensive and integrated services offered in the areas of prevention, outreach, intake, assessment, emergency shelters, transitional shelters, transitional housing, permanent housing, and service-enriched permanent housing. The Coalition conducted its annual Needs Survey; the results were presented to the community in a public forum and analyzed gaps in the delivery of service were scrutinized and rated. New and renewal projects meeting those gaps were reviewed and evaluated.

Members of the Coalition voted to submit renewal projects as first-order priorities. The projects are already operating successfully, demonstrating effectiveness, and are in need of continued funding to remain viable programs. Their inclusion is intended to avert creating new gaps in the Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care system. The seven renewal projects are: 1) Jefferson County Shelter Plus Care Program, 2) Shelter Plus Care/Interlink Counseling Services, Inc., and 3) Shelter Plus Care/Community Health Trust (Glade House). The other applicants are Supportive Housing Program projects: 4) Society of St. Vincent de Paul. s Women. s Recovery Program, 5) Volunteers of America of Kentucky, Inc., Transitional Treatment Program, 6) Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. s Comprehensive Employment Assistance Program, and 7) Wellspring. s Transitional Housing for Dually Diagnosed Homeless Women. All of the agencies are well-regarded in the community and have a history of providing quality services to the homeless and those who are "at risk" of becoming homeless.

The estimated need and current inventory figures were derived from a "point in time" homeless census that is conducted annually by the Louisville and Jefferson County Coalition for the Homeless. In 1995. s application, the census data collection was structured so that it matched the 1996 Continuum of Care Gaps Chart format. That census process involved directly contacting every emergency shelter and transitional housing provider to gather information on the number and the characteristics of the persons served and persons waiting for service. Unlike 1996, however, this year. s data collection was further revised to reflect the 1997 gaps chart format which looks at the "supply minus demand equals gaps" equation from three different perspectives: 1) beds/units; 2) supportive service slots; and 3) beds/services for sub-populations. An additional demarcation for the categories of homeless and single populations was also incorporated. Per HUD instructions, the numbers for beds/units are unduplicated, while the ones for supportive services and sub-populations may reflect occurrences of double-counting due to participants. frequent need for multiple services or their assignment to multiple sub-population classifications. The counts under these two classifications assumed, since there was no instruction to the contrary from HUD, that the "supply minus demand equals gaps" equation for services and sub-populations encompassed the full Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care , not just transitional and permanent housing.

The "givens" from a beds/units perspective are: 1) the physical capacity for the particular point in the Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care i.e., (emergency shelter, transitional housing, and services-enriched permanent housing); 2) the annual count of persons served; and 3) the waiting lists for those beds/units over a year. s time. A "factor" was derived by dividing the number serviced by the inventory. Then, the Coalition. s analysts divided the "factor" into the number of persons on the waiting list, providing an unmet need count for each facility. These individual program counts were then aggregated into a total unmet need for the emergency, transitional, and permanent housing components of the Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care .

Of the three perspectives, the analyses of service slots were the most problematic and elusive in developing reliable figures. Services other than case management and life skills are frequently delivered by providers that serve both homeless and non-homeless populations. Unless there is a McKinney Act or another grant or contact source that reserves the slot for the homeless, access to them is not assured (e.g., Private Industry Council vocational training slots are open in general to the economically disadvantaged). Therefore, the Coalition. s analyses decided that the most accurate means of calculating available slots was to identify and count those designated specifically for the homeless, or regularly accessed by them, even though not reserved. Sample case plans were then analyzed to estimate the demand for supportive services and subsequently extrapolated for the total population.

The easiest of the three gaps analyses was from the sub-population perspective, as these counts from the shelters, transitional housing, and permanent housing priorities reflect these distinctions. These responses were further compared against commonly accepted national estimates as to the proportions of homeless persons falling within each of HUD. s sub-population classifications (e.g., the Federal Task Force on Homelessness and Severe Mental Illness. report confirms that one third of the nation. s homeless are diagnosed as being severely mentally ill).

From the gaps analyses process, the following were rated "high" priorities by the Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care and validated by other community reviews:

BED/UNIT: Detoxification, Substance Abuse Treatment, Job Training for Families with Children, Transitional Housing for Single Individuals and Families with Children, Permanent Housing for both Single Individuals and Females in recovery with Children, and Treatment for the Dually Diagnosed.

SUPPORTIVE SERVICES: Case Management, Housing Placement, Substance Abuse Treatment, Job Development and Placement, and Transportation for Single Individuals, Supportive Services plus Child Care for Homeless Families with Children.

SUB-POPULATION: Chronic Substance Abuses -- Single Individuals and Families with Children, Dually diagnosed -- Single Individuals and Families with Children, Seriously Mentally Ill - Single Individuals, Persons with HIV/AIDS -- Both Single Individuals and Families with Children, Youth and Young Adults (ages 16-24) -- Single Individuals and Families with Children.

Financing of Program

The Continuum of Care program is financed by HUD.

Linkage to City Government

The City of Louisville has been a part of the commitment to ending the suffering of homelessness from the very beginning. The City works in conjunction with the other agencies and supports the many efforts to prevent homelessness.

Organization that Operates the Program

The Louisville/Jefferson County Coalition for the Homeless is a non-profit organization engaged in bringing together government agencies, shelter providers and supportive services agencies who are committed to ending the plight of more than 11,000 homeless individuals and families in the Louisville/Jefferson County area. The Coalition is involved in issues of homelessness and related advocacy efforts on the local, state and national levels. The Coalition is divided into working sub-committees of its Board of Directors. Each sub-committee focuses on a unique aspect of homelessness. These sub-committees are made up of government agency staff, shelter providers, homeless and formerly homeless individuals, and other supportive agency staff members. The sub-committees meet on a monthly basis. Biannually, the Coalition sponsors a Homeless Women. s and Homeless Men. s forum. These forums are open to all participating agencies. residents and staffs. As a result of these forums, client resource books and "Shelter Rap," a newsletter, were developed in conjunction with the University of Louisville School of Nursing.

The Coalition in partnership with the City of Louisville and Jefferson County Community Development, facilitated four community-wide planning meetings during the summer of 1998 at Metro United Way. A notice was issued to individuals and agencies who had participated in the planning and implementation of the 1996 and 1997 Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care . Each participating agency was asked to appoint a Delegate and Alternate to attend all of the meetings so that the sessions had continuity for planning purposes. The meetings were also advertised in "Jut the Fax," the weekly Coalition news up-date sent by fax to over thirty agencies. Each agency had one vote, regardless of the size of the agency. Key state holders also attended video conference sessions at the Louisville HUD office; a two-day training session for SHP program providers was also well attended by many local government agencies and non-profit providers participating in the development of the 1998 Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care.

Lessons Learned

Resources used for The Continuum of Care program still do not address all the needs in our community.

Mainstream Resources

With the City of Louisville, Jefferson County , and Metro United Way, the Coalition formed a "Homeless Partnership" to allocate money to homeless shelters and the homeless services delivery system. Over $800,000 is available annually through this partnership. A Grants Committee, made up of the Coalition. s board members, receives requests for funding and makes allocations based on community need. The money available helps to fill the gaps in service not addressed by the projects for which HUD funding is requested.

Organizations throughout the community provide considerable expertise and their own financial resources to help provide a viable support system to persons suffering from homelessness. Particularly notable are homelessness prevention efforts by the Homeless Families Prevention Project under the auspices of the Metro Human Needs Alliance. The Alliance is a large network of neighborhood-based churches and religious organizations. Individuals, companies, and foundations generously support local agencies providing assistance to sub-populations not served in the HUD Continuum of Care grant application priorities. A combination of ESG, United Way, CDBG and City and County General Fund dollars provide most of the current funding, although not all gaps in the system are filled.

Construction and subsidization of permanent housing (including Section 8 assistance units) is, for the most part, the province of the local public housing authorities (i.e., the Housing Authority of Louisville and the Housing Authority of Jefferson County). The Coalition has an excellent working relationship with these authorities. For example, homeless persons are given priority ranking on waiting lists. In addition, HUD 811, HOPWA, CDBG, and HOME dollars, (plus state and local general fund dollars) provide extra, but still limited, resources. New Directions Housing Corporation. s Housing Management Program provides a large number of both subsidized permanent housing and transitional housing units. Low-income home ownership programs are available through Habitat for Humanity, Louisville Housing Services Corporation, Neighborhood Development Corporation, Covenant Housing, and several other not-for-profit organizations.

There is a large, active network of food donors including Dare To Care, Kentucky Harvest, and the Community Action Agency. s Commodity Food Distribution Program. Hundreds of local firms (including food distributors and restaurants) give thousands of tons of food to agency community kitchens. Inexpensive clothing and household items are provided by thrift stores, owned and operated by local social service agencies.

FEMA funds help provide emergency services to homeless people in the community. State revenues go to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which then assists local agencies with construction of low-income housing. The Kentucky Housing Corporation administers a recently-renewed SAFAH grant to five local social service providers. The Homeless Housing Coalition of Kentucky is active in coordinating the delivery of services throughout the state and administers the AmeriCorps program.

The Crusade for Children is one of the area. s largest fundraising efforts to help children in need of medical assistance and other support services. Local organizations like the Younger Women. s Club, Junior League, Kentucky Colonels, National Council of Jewish Women, and General Electric. s Elfun Society give money and volunteer time to many social service projects. Companies like Ford Motor Company, Toyota, and Gannett give hundreds of thousands of dollars to help area charities. United Parcel Service recently initiated a new Metropolitan University to educate and train workers. Participants in this program will include low-income, unskilled men and women (often non-custodial parents). We will work with Metropolitan University to include the homeless populations as students.

Contact Persons: Marlene Gordon, Executive Director The Coalition for the Homeless, Inc. 333 Guthrie Green, Suite 402 Louisville, KY 40202 Telephone: 502-589-0190 Carolyn Rice Hunger and Homeless Administrator City of Louisville Department of Community Services 200 S. 7th Street, Suite 200 Louisville, KY 40202 Fax: 502-574-4227 email:

Return to Previous Page.

Home Search

The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352
Copyright 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.