LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A study released on Tuesday suggests that Louisville needs more low-barrier homeless shelters spread out across Jefferson County. 

The study, which was commissioned around five months ago at a cost of $50,000, was completed with the purpose of guiding Louisville Metro Government leaders on best practices when it comes to dealing with the city's homeless population. 

The study was completed by the University of Louisville’s Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky. The study suggested the following: 

  • Expand current homeless services.
  • Change homeless camp policies. This includes shifting focus from clearing camps to providing services and outreach.
  • Open multiple low-barrier shelters spaced throughout Jefferson County.
  • Improve collaboration between advocacy groups and metro government.
  • Promote more community education about issues facing the homeless.

The biggest suggested change is the addition of low-barrier shelters. Currently, Louisville has only one such shelter at Wayside Christian Mission. 

Earlier this month, Louisville Metro Police expressed concerns about safety at the facility. 

"The need to hire off-duty sworn police officers to be there," said LMPD Maj. Andy McClinton at the time. "They need to hire two. It is not a safe environment for my officers. It's not safe for their staff, and frankly it's not safe for the people that are there."

Given current budget woes for Louisville it is unclear if any of the suggestions can or will be implemented. 

"Low-barrier does not mean no barrier," said Dr. Susan Buchino, who headed the study. "There have to be expectations of safety. The other thing that's recommended is that there are separate spaces from adults who are singled or coupled, families, unaccompanied youth."

The study also found that the key point to solving homelessness is providing more affordable housing units that homeless people could more easily transition into. 

The study in full can be found here.

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Reporter

Travis Ragsdale joined WDRB in Jan. 2015. He focuses primarily on investigative reporting involving police, local government and infrastructure. He can be reached at 502-585-0817