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Gorton discusses panhandlers, homeless in Lexington

Mayor Linda Gorton addressed the Lexington Rotary Club Thursday.
City of Lexington
Mayor Linda Gorton discussed the city's challenges with homeless persons and panhandlers at Thursday's Rotary Club luncheon.

At the end of Mayor Linda Gorton’s speech to the Rotary Club of Lexington Thursday, she fielded a question about homeless people and panhandlers. She responded that most panhandlers aren’t homeless.

“A few of our corners have panhandlers, and many of them are brought in each morning to seek money from people and then they go home at night. There's a handful who are homeless, but not very many. And we encourage you not to ever give them money.”

Gorton said donating to lexgive.com is a way to help people on the street. She also said the number of homeless persons in the city has been cut in half.

“In about 2014, when we established our Office of Prevention and Intervention for homelessness, we had about 1,500 homeless people here. Gradually, since then the number has gone down, down, down.”

Gorton cited last year’s LexCount homeless survey, which showed 715 homeless persons in Lexington. She said during the pandemic, many cities brought their homeless to Lexington because they knew they’d be taken care of. Figures from this year’s LexCount are expected next month.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.