Jeffersonville homeless shelter battles overcrowding - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jeffersonville homeless shelter battles overcrowding

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - Haven House is trying to stretch its resources so they don't have to turn anyone away. But they say the bridges project isn't the only problem.

With new bridges going in and old ones being torn down, downtown Louisville and Jeffersonville are littered with construction cones. Work trucks and crumbling concrete have moved in where many used to go for shelter.

"Our population has kind of gone up quite a bit dramatically actually," said Barbara Anderson, director at Haven House, the only homeless shelter in Jeffersonville.

They sleep an average of 70 people this time of year, but now they're averaging 83 a night.

"That doesn't sound like a lot but in a small community, it's quite a bit," Anderson said. "That makes less room for the people with more dramatic needs."

Patricia Word has been homeless on and off for the last nine years.

"I've been through a lot, so I think God every day that I'm here at Haven House."

Anderson says on top of the bridges project, they're also dealing with a newly passed ordinance in Jeffersonville that bans people from sleeping in public places.

"You can't ordinance out poverty, you can't ordinance out the homeless. You need to do what's right," she said. "I'm going to advocate for the ordinance to go away."

Lance Gillman says he has $8 to his name. He sleeps wherever he can find shelter.

Gillman says Jeffersonville's ordinance only hurts those who are on the streets.

"They said if you ask for a dollar, I'm going to put you in jail for 30 days," he said. "We crossed the bridge instantly back over to Louisville and we said we belong here."

"Homeless people aren't the problem," Anderson said. "A lack of resources for the homeless is the problem."

A benefit for Haven House was held tonight in Jeffersonville.

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