Lexington kicks off new bus passes for the homeless program, Catholic Action Center not included

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- The city of Lexington is launching a new program that will offer free unlimited rides on Lextran to the city’s homeless but not everyone is happy with the requirements the city has set to get a ride.

Starting now people who are living in a homeless shelter in Lexington can get a new Lextran “Tap Card”.

“Which gives the person free unlimited rides on Lextran for a year,” said Polly Ruddick, director of Lexington’s Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention.

The cards are a part of the city’s upLIFT program which looks to help the homeless get back on their feet.

“So for the next 365 days they don’t have to worry about how they’re going to get somewhere, when they’re going to go somewhere. They can kind of take that empowerment and do it on their time,” said Ruddick.

Something shelter directors say is one of the most crucial things for helping people overcome homelessness.

“It’s huge. it’s a barrier that we’ve tried to address in different ways over the years and so this partnership allows our clients to easily be able to come in and say okay I’m working on housing, here’s what I’m doing, can you help me and with this program now we can make a few steps and then get them a bus pass,” said David Shadd, director of programs at Hope Center.

There is one shelter though that won’t be able to participate in this new program and that’s the Catholic Action Center because the city says this center does not use a database that the city uses to track and identify homeless people.

“We do not require our folks to be on that database because there are a lot of privacy issues with it,” said Ginny Ramsey, director of the Catholic Action Center.

The center says excluding people in need from a transportation program just because the shelter they are staying in doesn’t participate in a database is wrong.

“Because our folks are the ones who need it the most, to be honest because we take those who can’t stay at the other shelters,” said Ramsey.

But the city says the database is federally mandated, so in order for it to print out a “Tap Card” for a person, that person’s information has to be in that database.

“So if you’re staying at the Catholic Action Center and you need housing you actually can be refered by Mountain Comp Care,” said Ruddick.

Mountain Comp Care is a service provider located just above the Catholic Action Center.

But the Catholic Action Center says it now plans on creating its own transportation service for it’s clients.

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