Lexington will become the latest city to sign on to a White House initiative dubbed the “Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.”
In addition to the $3.5 million the Urban County Council set aside earlier this year for affordable housing, as part of the new commitment, the city will receive 51 new Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers to help provide homeless veterans with rental assistance and support services.
Roger Leonard of the US Dept. of Housing & Urban Development says the federal initiative is a good fit for Lexington.
"The first city that I thought of when I was looking at making a recommendation for this and facilitating this request was the city of Lexington, especially given Mayor Gray, the city council, and the community's effort to really reach out and innovate with their community to do things we normally don't see done at the local level," he says.
The city will also implement what’s called a Housing First model, which will start by providing homeless vets with permanent housing and then surrounding them with support services.
HUD puts the number of homeless veterans in the US around 58,000. The most recent count in Lexington found 78 living at emergency shelters.