New Polling on KY Homeless Crisis

Majority say street camping is 'not a right."

Louisville, KY, Jan. 12, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In the wake of public discussions about homelessness and the Kentucky State Fraternal Order of Police’s endorsement of public safety House Bill 5, the Cicero Institute has released eye-opening data from its recent Kentucky Homelessness Poll, offering a comprehensive view of Kentuckian’s sentiments of the state's homelessness crisis. 

1. Universal Concern: A substantial 60% of all voters express deepening worry about the increasing homelessness in Kentucky. This resonates across party lines, emphasizing the urgency for collaborative efforts to address the escalating issue. 

2. Public Safety Apprehension: An alarming 56% of all voters perceive homeless encampments as a threat to public safety, with 68% saying they avoid those areas at least some or all the time. This points to the critical need for policies that ensure both the safety of communities and the well-being of those experiencing unsheltered homelessness. 

3. Diverse Root Causes: The poll reveals an acute understanding of the root causes of unsheltered homelessness, with concerns focused on drug or alcohol addiction (33%), mental illness (21%). This highlights the complexity of the individual needs of Kentuckians and the necessity for holistic solutions. Few see lack of affordable housing (16%) or lack of good-paying jobs (10%) as the root cause of homelessness. 

4. Elimination of Street Camping: Most (87%) voters believe moving homeless individuals to shelters is more compassionate than leaving them on the street, and 76% do not think homeless individuals have a right to camp on streets and other public places when shelter options are available. Furthermore, a majority (56%) want to prohibit public street camping.  

5. Mental Health Focus: A majority (63%) across party lines supports legally compelling individuals with severe mental illness to seek treatment—underscoring the widespread acknowledgment of the importance of mental health interventions in assisting those in crisis. 

6. Broad Support for Funding: An overwhelming 67% want increased government funding for in-patient mental illness and addiction treatment for homeless individuals. This reflects a unified stance on the need for robust support systems that focus on long-term positive outcomes for the individuals they serve. 

The rest of the results and crosstabs can be viewed on Cicero Institute’s website here.

We encourage the public to delve further into these statistics and engage in meaningful discussions to influence the development of innovative and effective policies to combat the homelessness crisis in Kentucky. 


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