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Volunteers of America to operate Louisville’s new Community Care Campus

Volunteers of America CEO, Jennifer Hancock speaking at Metro Hall
Giselle Rhoden
/
LPM
Volunteers of America won the bid to operate the new Community Care Campus to help Louisvillians struggling with homelessness.

Mayor Craig Greenberg announced Thursday that Volunteers of America will provide shelter and care facilities at the new Community Care Campus.

Louisville Metro Government announced the campus in January to provide services for families and individuals dealing with homelessness.

VOA will construct a family emergency shelter at 822 S. Floyd St. as part of the project. The facility will be able to house up to 34 families at a time, officials said. The shelter will run with the help of the Coalition for the Homeless, which will refer people to VOA’s facilities.

Coalition Executive Director Natalie Harris said according to their annual headcount in January, 950 Louisvillians were staying in emergency or transitional shelters and 581 people were sleeping outdoors.

“That was just in a one-day count of the people that we were able to find,” she said. “The group that is hardest to count and the one that we talk about the least are families with children.”

On any given day, 15 families are placed on a waiting list for temporary housing with homelessness relief organizations, Greenberg said.

“One of our goals with the Community Care Campus is to reduce the burden on existing homeless service agencies, and that's essential because many of them are overwhelmed and experiencing rising costs,” he said.

VOA officials said they expect the new shelter to serve over 400 families annually.

The Community Care Campus will also be a medical respite center for individuals who are homeless and discharged from local hospitals. The goal is to transition people into supportive housing that still provides them with medical care.

The respite center will be able to house 30 patients at a time.

CEO Jennifer Hancock said VOA plans to provide residents with outdoor communal space, individualized case management, and a child special needs identification and enrichment program.

VOA will also build 80 housing units off Shelby Street, called the Monarch Station program. The one-to-three-bedroom units will be a combination of permanent supportive housing and affordable housing.

Monarch Station is expected to open for residents by spring 2025.

Greenberg said the initiative aligns with his “My Louisville Home” plan, which he announced in October an extension of his promise to build 15,000 affordable housing units.

Pharra Burleson, outreach specialist with Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, said this campus could change lives for people dealing with homelessness — like she was two-and-a-half years ago.

“When you're homeless, you really don't have any type of goal or vision about what's going to happen in your future. Because all you're thinking of is, ‘How am I going to eat and where am I going to sleep?’” she said. “When I sit at my job, and I can say, ‘Hey, listen, there's a Community Care Campus, and I can put you in touch with the right people.’ There's nothing more powerful than having that resource in my pocket.”

Greenberg said he plans to ask the Kentucky Legislature in January 2024 for $22.5 million to fund development of the campus.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.