There are more than 1,400 homeless people in Fayette County according to the Kentucky Housing Corporation and about a third of them are living in emergency shelters.
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s proposed budget allocates $250 thousand dollars of the total $313 million dollar budget to The Hope Center’s emergency shelter.
The shelter gives men a second chance and the director says a quarter of a million dollars would help them keep doors open for years to come and allow them to help more people.
The shelter gives out three meals a day, 150,000 meals a year but that’s only part of what it does.
“The basic needs are so crucial and that’s what they get when they come here but even the next stop is even more important that this is a opportunity for them to use the other services at the hope center to get their lives going in a different direction,” said Carrie Thayer, Director of Development at The Hope Center.
The shelter has about a one million dollar budget every year. It has received about the same amount of funding the past few years from the city and raises the rest of the money on its own.
“Without that 250k, we would be struggling,” said Thayer.
“Having the shelter allows us to have an entry point into the recovery program,” said Carey Cairo, volunteer manager at The Hope Center.
“I had a substance abuse problem and I found myself with nowhere to go,” said Charles Hunter who is a peer mentor at The Hope Center now but use to be an addict on the streets. “The Hope Center has made it possible for me to be a responsible person again.”
Addiction recovery can start at The Hope Center right away when people come into the emergency shelter.
“Our goal is to rebuild people’s lives,” said Cairo. “It’s great, we can get people plugged into those programs, and get them started on a track that will lead to self sufficient and independent living.”
For every dollar spent on recovery, it saves tax payers nearly four-dollars according to national cost estimates on substance abuse.