Ambiguity surrounds new homeless shelters

Editorial by Kernel staff. E-mail [email protected]

College students enjoy the temporary open container policy downtown brought by the World Equestrian

Games, during the last two weekends. The games have brought another significant change to the downtown setting as well.

According to Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader September articles, two shelters have been opened (and will remained open for the duration of the games) to provide a place to stay for the homeless in Lexington, particularly those who sleep in Phoenix Park.

Because events such as Spotlight Lexington, which started last week, are near the Phoenix Park area, the shelters are intended to give the homeless a place to go while their areas are taken over.

It’s unfortunate it took an international event to make city officials and organizations provide shelters like this, but it’s encouraging the event finally brought light to the issue. Now, projects are underway to make this action permanent.

According to the Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader articles, Downtown Lexington Corp. is working with other organizations to do this, and they are working to create a permanent center.

According to an April 2009 Kernel article, about 2,050 people in Lexington were homeless. Is the city making its best efforts to provide for these people — and not just when its under the watch of international visitors?

The World Equestrian Games have about a week left, as do the two temporary shelters created for them. Now the question is, will the city live up to its promises to provide additional permanent homeless shelters?

There is reason to question the city’s efforts to address homelessness during the events — rather than a selfless act of courage, this is likely a scheme to hide an embarrassing reality from the influx of visitors.