Feed Louisville homeless hotel funding runs out

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Over 100 homeless residents were out of the elements for one week thanks to a local non-profit, but with funding running out, they’re once again returning to the street.

What You Need To Know

  • Non-profit Feed Louisville provided 110 homeless residents with hotel rooms during last week’s ice storm
  • Feed Louisville’s outreach director said homeless shelters aren’t the best choice for everyone
  • Louisville Metro may reimburse Feed Louisville for part of the cost
  • After the money for emergency hotel rooms ran out, people returned to homeless camps around the city

During last week’s ice storm, a Louisville non-profit provided hotel rooms for 110 homeless residents. Now those residents are returning to the street because funding has run out.

“The thing to realize is, this can happen to anybody,” Mark Hankins said on Friday.

Since last Saturday, Hankins has been staying in a hotel provided by Feed Louisville on Louisville’s far south side.

Hankins said the respite from the cold was nothing short of life saving. Especially considering what the 46-year-old was thinking to himself a week ago: “Am I going to freeze to death?”

Donny Greene is the co-founder of Feed Louisville. Last week he crisscrossed the city ahead of the snow and ice storm, finding people willing to leave behind their tents and stay in a hotel.

“The city still lacks. We have no transitional housing, no emergency housing to speak of. There are shelters, yes, but lots of folks for lots of different reasons do not and will not go to shelters,” Green said Friday. He is also the outreach director for Feed Louisville.

Donny Greene is the co-founder of Feed Louisville (Spectrum News 1/Jonathon Gregg)

Through fundraising, his organization provided approximately 60 rooms for nearly twice as many people. Unfortunately, the money has run out.

“One of the toughest days is actually, you know, picking someone up and saying OK, where am I taking you today?” Green said.

Mark Hankins returned to a homeless camp in Downtown Louisville on Friday.

“I say I hate to go back to it but I’m pretty sure there is help on the way,” Hankins said.

That’s because during his stay, Feed Louisville connected Hankins with a city housing assessment. Others had doctor visits, mental health screenings and life-improving steps they could take because they had stable housing for a few days.

“The stress and the worry is back because I don’t know what I am going to do now, but I try to stay positive,” Hankins said. “Because being in a situation like this it takes so much out of you.”

By 11 am Friday, Hankins was loading up his belongings, and he eventually set up a tent at a homeless camp.

At the same time, Donny Greene will be back raising as much money as he can to help prevent this life-threatening cycle from continuing.

“I’m not letting the city off the hook for affordable housing and for transitional housing and everything else. We absolutely have to have that,” Greene said. “But they are stepping up and helping pay part of this and that’s what allowed us to get as many rooms as we did and put up as many people as we did.”

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