homelessness simulation

With one of the highest rates of homeless veterans in Kentucky, Christian County is working to make it easier for those vets to find housing. The Kentucky Housing Corporation and the Housing Authority of Hopkinsville have joined the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.

The program gives veterans preference over others when applying for housing. Hopkinsville Housing Authority director Vickie Smiley says Christian County’s high concentration of homeless veterans is due to Fort Campbell. “They can get their medical benefits and have the use of the army base, you now, trying to stay so close. So, with the army base being in our county, that makes it a lot easier for them to get treatment,” Smiley said.

Kentucky HUD Field Director Christopher Taylor says the program makes it easier for veterans across the state who don’t already qualify for Veterans Affairs Supported Housing vouchers. “The problem is with those vouchers is you need have a honorable discharge to qualify for it, you need to be eligible for VA benefits, and you have to live in either urban area or somewhere by a military base. So those veterans that want to stay out in rural Kentucky that’s really outside of Christian county, that VASH voucher would not work for them,” Taylor said.

Taylor says about 80 percent of the state has signed onto the Challenge so homeless veterans who don’t qualify for VASH will still have support finding housing.

Smiley says the Housing Authority Board signed onto the challenge last week and veteran preference will go into effect July 1st.

A group of about twenty WKU students are participating in a homelessness simulation this weekend. They met at the Garrett Conference Center on the WKU campus last night to start the activity. Organizers say those who participate are learning about the realities of poverty in the world.