"Just having our doors open is saving lives", those were the words of Marla Price, Executive Director of the St. John Center, a drop in program to help the homeless. Yesterday I posted an article about Code Blue Saratoga that was launched last winter because after the tragic death of Nancy Pitts. Today I read an article about a homeless man in Kentucky who died recently on the streets. His name was Kenneth Winfield. He was 49 year sold. He struggled with mental illness and addiction, but had been working with the St. John Center for years. He had a girlfriend and plans to marry her.
According to the USA Today article, back in November he'd asked for assistance in finding an apartment, crying, 'Please help me find an apartment. I don't want to die out there." He'd applied for supportive housing, but vouchers were limited and he didn't score as vulnerable enough to be prioritized.
Price offers her solution to homelessness- having affordable housing and adequate case management services. It seems things aren't all that different in Kentucky than Saratoga County. Here the wait for Section 8 housing can be as long as 6-7 years. Right now two of Saratoga County's three Section 8 providers have closed their application lists, simply because their waiting lists are already overloaded. We need to look beyond just winter emergency shelters to the root causes of homelessness if we're to discover solutions that will take us beyond the spring thaw. As Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said, "We should be thinking of the homeless 365 days a year."