LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville plans to clear homeless encampments in a six-to-eight-block radius of downtown.
In a release, the city announced that it posted a 21-day notice Tuesday morning of plans to clear the camps, relocate residents and expand services for behavioral health and substance abuse to help.
"Our houseless population needs services, so we have to do everything we possibly can to get those services to them and meet them where they are," said Tameka Laird, the city's director for the Office of Resilience and Community Services.
Camps will be cleared by in October in an area bounded by Jackson, Jefferson, Market, Preston, Floyd and Brook streets, as well as Liberty, Hancock and Main streets.
The city's Office of Resilience and Community Services is leading an outreach effort with The Healing Place, Wellspring and Seven Counties Services to help the homeless centered around downtown Louisville. The effort will focus on helping individuals transition to more stable shelters and eventually permanent housing. The 21-day notice is meant to give the homeless residents a chance to relocate and find support services.
Laird said about 70 people were living on the streets in this downtown area when the assessment was completed. She believes many people have already moved out.
"Our ultimate goal is to help all of them," she said. "But realistically, we know that — most likely — we'll probably reach maybe half in that area.
As the camps are cleared, shelters are coordinating to offer expanded bed capacity at Wayside Christian Mission. The Healing Place is making extra recovery beds available. The Healing Place and Seven Counties will also provide transportation and other support logistics.
Laird said Wayside has agreed to accept any overflow if shelters meet bed capacity and will make allowances for those who needs shelter, including people who have been placed on existing ban lists.
Over the next three weeks, a newly expanded outreach team will work in the evenings and weekends to connect with the homeless and educate them about help that is available, including primary care, mental and behavior health services, recovery and connections to housing.
Volunteer groups will continue to provide food, supplies, transportation and other services including healthcare and help with getting IDs.
The city said the 21-day notice is part of the four-phase plan announced in July to address chronic street homelessness with immediate and long-term solutions including a Safe Outdoor Space, transitional housing and increased funding for affordable housing. To read the full plan, click here.
This is just the third notice posted by the city since risk assessments of homeless camps began again in late July. For much of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city had followed shelter-in-place guidelines and only cleaned camps, not clearing them.
Laird said some camps now have deteriorating conditions that pose health and safety concerns, and that is why notices are being posted.
This area is scheduled to be cleared Oct. 5.
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