National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week sheds light on problem in Lexington

Bailey Vandiver

UK students should care that some people do not have homes.

This is the first step to providing homes for the homeless, Beau Revlett said, student director for Wildcats for Housing, Opportunity, Mentorship, Employment and Services (HOMES), a program within the Center for Community Outreach.

Wildcats for HOMES is hosting events in observance of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, which is Nov. 11-19. Each year, the national initiative takes place in the week before Thanksgiving, according to its website.

NHHAW has been observed at UK for six years now, and this is the third year that it is run by students.

Philosophy junior Revlett said there are more people experiencing homelessness in Lexington than anywhere else in Kentucky, even though Louisville has a much larger population. He said that while many providers have worked to improve the problem of homelessness in Lexington, it is not enough.

He said there has to be a societal shift for people to care about homelessness.

“My approach to NHHAW is to use it to provide a glimpse into the complexities and realities of homelessness, while also making it clear that this is not something we can grasp by hearing some speakers or volunteering sometimes,” he said.

He said he hopes that NHHAW gets people thinking, “that it presents moral questions to people and some tools to help them work through them,” he said.

The events throughout the week will also offer opportunities to start working toward solutions, Revlett said.

Revlett said that he would not be where he is today without his support system.

“I did not do anything to get many of those supports; they were given to me. Such supports are not given to some people,” he said. “Due only to chance, I live my life and others do not have homes. I see that as morally affronting.”

Revlett said he tries to help with the issue of homelessness because he believes it is the right thing to do. 

Students who agree with him can participate in events throughout the week, which are listed below. The schedule was provided by Samantha LaMar of the Center for Community Outreach.

On Nov. 11, students will serve at community organizations that work with individuals experiencing homelessness as part of the Day of Service.

On Nov. 13, a Mental Health Panel will discuss how mental health and homelessness are related.

On Nov. 14, a cooking class called Gathering at the Table will include a discussion about campus resources for students experiencing food insecurity.

On Nov. 15, the Oxfam Hunger Banquet will simulate poverty on a global scale and how it impacts food access.

On Nov. 16 and 17, the CCO and Wildcats for HOMES will be finishing up Thanksgiving Basket Drive donations.