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Homeless advocacy leader says HB 5 will hurt the homeless and groups and governments trying to house them

Stu Johnson
The leader of a homeless advocate group says HB 5 could burden already-maxed out homeless shelters.

The leader of a group advocating for the homeless in Kentucky since 1987 said a bill that passed the state House Thursday would hurt the homeless – and local governments and nonprofits trying to house them. Adrienne Bush is the executive director of the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky. She said the bill dubbed the Safer Kentucky Act’s banning of street camping in public places will leave some with nowhere to go.

“Our primary concern is that it doesn't take into account rural counties where there just aren't any shelter options. And then even in our cities like Lexington, when shelters are at full capacity, and they don't have room for additional folks.”

Bush said local governments could struggle to pay higher jail expenses. She said an amendment allowing people to remain in a vehicle for up to 12 hours helps, but not enough.

“People are going to be constantly moving around. And that just makes it really difficult for them and for like the service providers who are trying to get in touch with them with, you know, housing paperwork and verifying ID and stuff like that. It just very counterproductive.”

Bush said there aren’t enough shelters now for the homeless, and if HB 5 emerges from the Senate without further protections, that problem will grow.

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