LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Millions have been pledged to address Louisville’s homelessness crisis, but the Coalition for the Homeless says funding falls short for emergency overnight shelters.

What You Need To Know

  •  Louisville Metro Council considering homelessness in the 2024 budget

  •  Millions have been pledged for affordable housing, homeless prevention and day shelters

  •  Coalition for the Homeless seeks additional money to address bed shortage at overnight shelters

  • Mayor Craig Greenberg has pledged $25 million to build permanent affordable housing units

The Louisville Metro Council is in its last weeks of negotiating the city’s 2024 budget and millions of dollars are earmarked for houseless issues. However, the leaders at the Coalition for the Homeless say overnight emergency sheltering will go under-funded in the current proposal.

Driving through Louisville and you’ll see the city’s homelessness crisis is out in the open. Catherine McGeeney says the struggle of many Louisvillians also goes unseen.

“Last weekend, 24 families called the Coalition seeking emergency shelter. These are the most desperate people who knew to call us…. As usual, there were no shelter openings, so 21 of these families slept in their cars,” McGeeney said, reciting a post she and the Coalition for the Homeless posted to Facebook last week.

The post is meant to gain the attention of the Metro Council as it considers a new budget.

“And I think a budget is a moral document and if our city decides that we don’t want to live with the reality of families sleeping in their cars, we will make it work,” McGeeney continued.

Catherine McGeeney is the communications director for Coalition for the Homeless (Spectrum News 1\Jonathon Gregg)

McGeeney is the communications director at the Coalition which advocates for the many nonprofits in Louisville working to house families in crisis, individuals struggling with chronic homelessness and families struggling to keep their homes and apartments.

She says while millions of dollars are being designated for houseless issues in the proposed budget, emergency overnight shelters need additional money to address the growing struggle of those left out due to lack of overnight shelter space. According to McGeeney, funding for emergency shelters falls short in the new budget.

“So an investment in day shelter is important. It is different than in an overnight shelter so families can sleep somewhere together.”

Mayor Craig’s Greenberg’s first proposed budget includes millions in houseless services. Greenberg has held several news conferences through the early months of administration pledging more than $70 million from both state and federal sources to combat the crisis Louisville is experiencing.

According to the Mayor’s office, $2 million is earmarked for the forthcoming Community Care Campus through the Office of Housing & Community Development. $3 million has been pledged for a women’s day shelter also operated by Office of Housing & Community Development. Another $200,000 has been designated to pay for staff and shelter care. The Hope Village is proposed to receive $300,000 to continue operating its outdoor safe space and resource hub. Hope Village is an outdoor shelter option for individuals seeking an alternative to indoor overnight communal shelters. 

A child sits near a Louisville day shelter (Spectrum News 1/Jonathon Gregg)

In addition, the Mayor Greenberg has pledged $25 million to build permanent affordable housing units and millions more for houseless prevention. That being said, McGeeney says the current budget proposal falls short of adding overnight shelter beds

“These shelters are working very hard to serve as many people as they can but they are just at capacity,” McGeeney said.

The Metro Council is expected to vote on the city’s new budget later this month.