Data is everywhere. Data is complex. Data can be confusing, becoming a four-letter word inducing anxiety, but data is so important as the foundation for making the best decisions, especially when administering housing solutions for families in the most need of shelter solutions and stabilization.
It’s March in the Bluegrass. Chances are, even if you’re not a sports fan, you know that means it’s NCAA March Madness time. Ah, yes. Basketball! This year, four Kentucky teams made it into the men’s tournament—UK, Louisville, NKU, and my alma mater, the Murray State Racers! On the women’s side, UK and Louisville also made it in. Congrats to all of these teams! Your hard work throughout the year has paid off.
In October 2016, a Louisville television station aired the story of a veteran who was living in a small shed on his property. The veteran, whose home was destroyed by flood, had been taken advantage of by a construction company that promised to raise his home above flood level and rebuild it. After the company had removed all the brick from the outside and gutted the inside, they took his money and left him with an uninhabitable house. This story captured the attention of many organizations that wanted to help. Representatives from the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council (GLCLC), Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA), Kentucky Habitat for Humanity, United Way, Housing Partnership, Inc. (HPI), and other local organizations began to meet on a regular basis to brainstorm how resources could be merged to help not only this veteran, but also, almost 200 other homeless veterans in the area.
“Earl” (named changed to protect his privacy) visited the soup kitchen on the day I volunteered to prep and serve food. Trays are counted to track the number of hungry folks who came through for a fresh, hot meal. Some come through the line for another serving or two, because they may not have another meal until the next day or longer, if they are just passing through town. Earl has been coming in routinely for a few months. He is friendly, full of conversation, and shares his smile and gratitude with everyone he meets. Earl reminded me that joy is found within, and that joy can be contagious when freely shared with others…no matter the current status of doing with or doing without. Joy can be shared within a few moments of going through a line.
In a two-part podcast series about the K-Count and serving homeless populations in the state, Kentucky Housing Corporation’s (KHC) Executive Director, Edwin King talks with rural housing service providers for families and veterans about their tireless work to overcome challenges and provide help, hope, and housing.