LEXINGTON, Ky. — City leaders and The Hope Center officially opened a new resource aimed at getting homeless people a warm place to go as temperatures get lower.

What You Need To Know

  • Hope Village provides season long housing for unhoused citizens in Lexington 

  • The temporary shelter results from a months long collaboration between the Hope Center and city 

  • The shelter will provide space for up to 160 men and women 

  • Funding for the project allows for private security for residents and nearby neighborhoods

Hope Village will provide season long shelter to individuals in Lexington’s unhoused community. It’s a result of meetings the city began last spring to reimagine the community’s winter weather.

While many of us are thankful for a warm place to call home, others in Lexington and the state aren’t as fortunate. Jeff Herron, a manager at Lexington’s Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention, said this center will change that.

“It’s great to know that the most basic of needs are going to be met with someone when ordinarily it would mean wondering where someone’s going to sleep at night, where their next meal might come from,” Herron said.

The first residents moved into the Hope Center’s temporary winter shelter on Wednesday, Nov. 22. Herron said it was a month’s long collaboration between the nonprofit and the city’s office of homelessness prevention.

“This shelter can accept both unaccompanied men and women over the ages of 18. We will not be accepting children here,” Herron said.

This space is next door to the YMCA. It can provide up to 160 people a bed, place to eat and shower.

“We have our emergency shelter across the street and we house anywhere in the neighborhood of 160-180 people there and we knew it wasn’t going to be enough,” said David Shadd, director of programming at Hope Center.

Shadd said homelessness in Lexington has worsened in the past two years.

“I think part of that might be COVID-related, economy related, but we have seen more people become homeless and more long-term homelessness, but also more new homeless,” Shadd said.

In previous winters, the city would put people in a hotel room for a night, depending on the temperature. But now, individuals living here during the winter will have access to Hope Center services, which can lead to better outcomes.

“Our goal is that during their time here this winter we can help connect them with housing. We can connect them with the resources to move out of here. We want to see this be their last winter homeless,” Shadd said.

The YMCA allowed the city to place the shelter on its property.

Funding for the project supports 24/7 private security for individuals accessing the village and the neighboring community. Hope Village will be open from November to March.