County forms task force to address homelessness

Published 11:26 am Monday, December 11, 2023

By Fiona Morgan

The Boyle County Fiscal Court has formed a Task Force on Homelessness made up of local volunteers.

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The task force will seek to determine and address the root causes of homelessness in Boyle County and find meaningful solutions to homelessness in the community. Magistrate Steve Sleeper made a motion at the Nov. 14 Fiscal Court meeting to start the task force, and the court approved a list of members at the Nov. 28 meeting.

Members of the task force are individuals who were referred, recommended, and selected based on their experience, skill sets, community involvement, and passion for creating a high quality of life for all county residents.

Members are as follows: Amy Anness, Gary Chidester, Amanda Cooke, Charlotte Duff, Terry Dunn, James Hunn, Kathy Miles, Angela Muncy, Jordan Burchfield, Ashley Dowell, and Staci Ford.

“It is difficult to acquire accurate homelessness statistics, however, there are at least six known homeless encampments in Boyle County; and according to Kentucky Department of Education statistics, there are 66 known homeless school age children in Boyle County,” according to a press release from the county.

“There are various perceived causes for homelessness and the court recognizes with these varied contributing factors there needs to be intentional and coordinated action to address the homeless situation in our community,” the press release states.

Sleeper told the Advocate-Messenger that there are many organizations in the community that work to address homelessness. The task force is not officially affiliated with any of those organizations, but he said they want to work cooperatively with them. Some members of the task force are involved with organizations such as the syringe exchange program, ASAP, the jail, and local churches.

“Homelessness is a complex issue and the more coordinated effort from all those concerned, the better hope we have of bringing awareness, addressing the contributing factors, finding effective solutions, and bringing resources to bear,” Sleeper said.

The first meeting of the task force will be sometime in January. To read more about local homelessness, stay tuned for articles about a local homelessness survey by Centre, and a community meeting about homelessness led by the City of Danville.