homeless

facebook/Teresa's Restaurant

As COVID-19 surges across Kentucky, new statewide restrictions prohibiting indoor dining for bars and restaurants go into effect Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. and last through Dec. 13.

One local business impacted by the new restrictions is Teresa's Restaurant, a Bowling Green eatery known for home cooking.

The restrictions during the pandemic have caused financial strain for the popular restaurant and the newest rule that prohibits indoor dining is the last straw, at least until Dec. 13. 

Owner Heather McGuffey said the restaurant has no outdoor dining and a previous attempt at take-out meals during an earlier restriction on indoor dining didn't work out.  So she decided to close Teresa’s when the latest rules go into effect.

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When cold weather causes communities to open extra overnight space for the homeless, Daviess County will have a new ‘white flag’ shelter in place. 

Keeping homeless individuals safe and warm when the temperature gets dangerously cold requires an additional layer of safety during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Owensboro Christian Church will open its doors on white flag nights under an agreement with Daviess County Fiscal Court and the city of Owensboro.

Daviess County Deputy Director of Emergency Management John Clouse said the church is a large facility that will have the necessary space to serve as the region’s new white flag shelter. 


Room In The Inn Bowling Green/Facebook

Government and health care leaders are advising Kentucky residents to "stay healthy at home" to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

One Bowling Green nonprofit is adjusting the way it's providing services to Kentuckians who don’t have a home during the pandemic.          

Room In The Inn Bowling Green is continuing to offer homeless individuals a variety of services, including computer access to apply for jobs, unemployment benefits, educational programs, and videoconferencing for health care.

"We've had several people that I've helped to apply for unemployment benefits online. And then we're also finding people who had education plans that they were just getting started on and everything, just kind of came to a screeching halt for them," said Program Coordinator Sharli Rogers. 


Jacob Ryan | WFPL

The men at the camp near Lexington Road stay busy chopping wood, cleaning dishes and fixing bikes. 

They sleep in ramshackle tents perched on the edge of a steep embankment. Cars buzz by on Lexington Road and a train rumbles overhead on a nearby viaduct.

Robert, who declined to share his last name because some family members don’t know he’s homeless, said he and the other residents try to stay clean. As coronavirus fears have taken hold, they’re using hand sanitizer delivered by homeless outreach groups. They boil water over the fire to wash dishes. 

And they’re strict about one recommendation — social distancing.

Mental Health Bill Aims to Help Homeless Youth

Feb 24, 2020
Coalition for the Homeless

A bill under consideration in the General Assembly would give more homeless youth in Kentucky access to mental health services. 

Under House Bill 213, unaccompanied children age 16 and older would not need permission from a parent or guardian for mental health services.  Rep. Joni Jenkins (D-Louisville) is sponsoring the bill and says it could help 3,000 young people in Kentucky. 

Coalition for the Homeless Director of Communications Catherine McGeeney says many homeless youth are unable to get guardians’ permission for much-needed mental health care.

Rhonda J. Miller

The annual survey of the homeless in Kentucky called K-Count reveals that people often end up on the street or in a shelter because of relationship or medical issues.

Some who have become homeless offered to take part in the survey when they were in a Bowling Green shelter on the evening of Jan. 29, when the 2020 K-Count took place. 

On that night, seven women and 21 men seeking shelter arrived at Room in the Inn Bowling Green by the 5:30 p.m. registration time. 

After those 28 guests had been transported to host churches for the night, program coordinator Sharli Rogers hopped into her car.


Rhonda J. Miller

Community groups and volunteers across Kentucky are taking part this week in the annual count of the homeless. 

In Kentucky it’s called K-Count, and most of the counting was done Jan. 29 at homeless shelters, in the woods, behind buildings, and wherever people who have no place to live might be sleeping. 

Some of the count was also done at shelters on the morning of Jan. 30, with homeless individuals who were not counted on the previous night.

For the first time, K-Count data collectors used an app this year to upload information, in addition to traditional paper forms.

In the Bluegrass State the count is coordinated by the Kentucky Housing Corporation, with projects done regionally, mostly by social service nonprofits and volunteers.


Unsplash / Jon Tyson

Groups across Kentucky are preparing to participate in the nationwide count of the homeless that takes place at the end of January. In advance of the count, several training sessions are being offered during the week of Jan. 6 to 10.

The Kentucky Housing Corporation coordinates the state’s count of the homeless, called K-Count, that will be held this year on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

It’s part of the nationwide count of the homeless managed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Tori Henninger is executive director of Barren River Area Safe Space, or BRASS, which provides services for victims of domestic violence in a 10-county region in southern Kentucky.  

Henninger says many individuals, especially women, become homeless as a result of domestic violence, so BRASS is one of several organizations offering training to people who want to take part in the K-Count.


Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

Cancer was what finally pushed Kristi Reyes into living in her car.

The mother of four had worked all her life, starting at age 7 when she helped out at her family’s furniture store. Most of her work was in retail. It was paycheck-to-paycheck but she kept her kids together and a roof over their heads.

But then in 2012 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She started cycling through jobs because of the time she needed to take off for recovery from treatment. Soon, she was too sick to work at all and things continued to slide. She had Medicaid, what she calls a medical card, but it wasn’t enough.


Lisa Autry

With light snowfall and below freezing temperatures in much of Kentucky, some homeless shelters are welcoming guests early in the season.

Owensboro and Daviess County are under a White Flag designation through tomorrow, which allows the homeless to spend the night at a warming shelter and get a hot meal. 

Andy Ball heads the Daviess County Emergency Management Agency.  He says the program runs Nov. 1-Mar. 31, but demand typically doesn't come this early.

Barren River Area Safe Space

The newly released figures from the statewide count of the homeless, called K-Count, show the number has increased by about 600 over the past three years. The vast majority are not chronically homeless or living on the street.

The 2019 count of the homeless, coordinated by Kentucky Housing Corporation, shows that 4,079 people were in shelters, transitional housing or unsheltered on a designated day at the end of January.

This year that 'point-in-time' count was done by community organizations on Jan. 30. 

In 2018 there were 3,688 homeless individuals counted across Kentucky. In 2017, that number was about 3,400.


J. Tyler Franklin

A new program aims to connect vulnerable homeless adults with mental health help and housing.

The nonprofit organization Wellspring is launching the program with $100,000 from the city’s budget and $150,000 from the James Graham Brown Foundation. Wellspring CEO Katharine Dobbins said the program addresses what the homeless community has needed for a long time.

“I think this is an important service and I’ve got to believe it’s going to make a difference,” Dobbins said. “These are folks who’ve been pretty disenfranchised. Who’ve been pretty alienated. Who just really haven’t had a lot of support and haven’t been brought into the mainstream.”

Photo courtesy of HOMES, Inc.

Joe Oliver and Tony Brown peered into the dark crawl space beneath a Letcher County, Kentucky, home. Already, they could see problems. The crawl space had been blocked off with just a thin sheet of plywood; the posts supporting the house rested on uneven blobs of poured concrete; the whole place reeked of mold.

A gas leak detector beeped urgently at the meeting of two pipes.

Crawling on elbows and knees, ducking to avoid exposed pipes, Oliver and Brown found flood damage, poor ductwork, and one very large spider.


Mary Meehan

Charles “Country” Bowers takes long, quick strides down a worn dirt path and is soon in front of a thicket of bushes made deep and tall by spring rains.

He’s leading me on a tour of camps made by homeless people in wooded corners of Fayette County, Kentucky. He stops and lifts a hand to signal that he’s spied something.

Framed by leaves, slightly up the hill, there’s a patch of blue. A tent. He keeps his voice low to avoid startling those inside.


Feed My Sheep Ministries/Mitzi Dowell

There’s a new soup kitchen and warming center in Somerset and the homeless and the hungry are quickly finding their way there.

While she was volunteering at the Living Bread Soup Kitchen in Somerset for more than a year, Mitzi Dowell saw the community’s need for a place for the homeless to get out of the cold – not a shelter with background checks, but a warming center open to anyone when the temperature gets below 32 degrees.  

The door remains open as long as no one interferes with the safety of others.  

Dowell is a member of Somerset First Church of the Nazarene and felt the call to set up a soup kitchen along with the warming center.

She collaborated with the pastor, Mike Grant, and Feed My Sheep Ministries was born three weeks ago, with Dowell as director.

Two dozen overnight guests have already stayed at the warming center at Somerset First Church of the Nazareen. Dowell said the guests are a reminder that unexpected circumstances often cause a person to become homeless, like one man who showed up after serving in the military in Afghanistan. 


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