Community

There are hundreds of young people in Louisville without a home or permanent place to live.

Some 400 between ages 18 and 24 are homeless, meaning they bounce from shelters to the street and back again. Another 450 people younger than 18 years old have sought help at a YMCA Safe Place during the past year, according to information provided by the Coalition for the Homeless.

It costs nearly $15 million to care for these young people, and that price will only go up without concerted investment, says Natalie Harris, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless.

Her group announced earlier this month they’d spend the next year developing systems that will, they hope, eradicate homelessness among young adults in Louisville. The plan mirrors a large-scale — and successful — effort last year that focused on ending homelessness among veterans in the city.

But this is also different. With veterans, Harris says, as well as more chronically homeless individuals, housing is a key factor.

With young people, education and employment are key — though housing is still important, she says.

“A big part of what we’re trying to do is inspire young adults to find that thing, that job, that career, that education,” she says. “Then they have a future.”

Harris visited the WFPL studios to talk about the effort and challenges in the months ahead. Listen to our conversation in the player above.

Jacob Ryan is the Metro Affairs reporter for WFPL.