LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The number of homeless people in Louisville is down according to the 2013 Homeless Count report released Wednesday by the Coalition for the Homeless.
After announcing the two percent decrease, members of the Coalition for the Homeless announced plans to work with other agencies to implement a new Common Assessment program designed to transform more homeless into homeowners by reducing their length of stay in shelters.
"I was evicted and I was embarrassed. As a man I could not provide for my family. I could not put a roof over our head and I didn't know which way to turn," said Derrick Dennis before a crowd gathered at the Volunteers of America building on South 4th Street.
"People who said 'I've got your back if you need me, call me,'" began Dennis, "that time came and nobody answered."
Dennis said an internet search led him and his son to Volunteers of America where they received guidance.
"We did financial literacy," said Dennis. "They gave me the resources and the training and the counseling that my son and I needed to have our own home now."
The now full-time Spalding college student's story is just one of more than 1,000 successes highlighted in the recently released 2013 Homeless Count.
"In 2013, there were 8,608 people who were homeless at least at some point during the year," said Coalition for the Homeless Executive Director Natalie Harris. While Harris said that is only down two percent from the year prior, she believed the percentage could be improved with improved data.
"The Common Assessment," began Harris, "we hope will allow people to get out of shelter faster."
"That survey is a vulnerability index that basically measures how likely someone on the street is likely to die," began Common Assessment Coordinator Carey Addison. "It asks them questions about what chronic illnesses they use. Where they go for care. Identifying who the people are that are going in and out of the emergency room the most, going in and out of the correctional system the most and allowing us to prioritize who needs what services."
"You can be in my situation," said Dennis to the room full of listeners. "We have a roof over our head. You know, I can cook."
"Because of 30 amazing agencies, 1,371 people were able to move into permanent housing from the shelters," said Harris.
Harris expected the positive trend to continue with Common Assessment partner referrals and placements set to begin in May.
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