Driving around the city of Louisville, or just about any city in the world, the reality of homelessness is unavoidable. When encountering homeless neighbors on our streets, questions come to mind about what led to the lack of a safe and stable home, along with questions about what can be done to help. It is an overwhelming problem with many different causes, and no one definitive service approach.

Our city is blessed to have a multitude of organizations with missions designed to target specific populations, symptoms, and root causes of homelessness, as well as one central organization acting as a hub to coordinate those services for maximum impact.

Since 1986 Coalition for the Homeless has existed to be the voice for the homeless in the city of Louisville. They do this through education, advocacy, and coordination of resources. With over 30 member agencies, they help to strategically utilize each agency’s strengths to work toward the elimination of homelessness in our city.

In addition to hosting annual service events like Street Count and Stand Down, the Coalition works to secure funding and spearheads initiatives like Rx: Housing, a program designed to prioritize housing as the solution to most health concerns of the chronically homeless. The first Rx: Housing program was a local campaign inspired by the national program 100’000 Homes, led by the organization Community Solutions. The national goal was to secure housing for 100’000 homeless Americans between 2011-2014. Both the local and national programs were incredibly successful, and the combined efforts of several local organizations resulted in the reduction of chronic homelessness in Louisville by over 50%!

Volunteers washing the feet of homeless Louisville women during the annual Stand Down event.

They moved on to Rx: Housing Veterans, aiming to end to veteran homelessness by 2016. As a result of the strategic action coordinated by the Coalition for the Homeless, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness announced that Louisville had reached “functional zero” for this population, on Veterans Day 2016.

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Then in 2017, they began working to make the same impact on youth homelessness, one of the largest growing homeless populations in the country, through the program Rx: Housing Young Adults. As with each of the other Rx: Housing programs, they began with identifying homeless young adults living in Louisville by name and working with them to secure housing one by one.

Melissa Raley (far left) with Coalition for the Homeless Associate Board members prior to Street Count 2019.

This program and many others are currently underway and you can learn more about them by listening to our interview with Coalition for the Homeless Director of Development, Melissa Raley, or visiting www.louhomeless.org! Click on their member page to visit the websites of each of their community partners and finding unique ways you can partner as a donor or volunteer!

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